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Museum education is not simply an add-on to an exhibition, as though you were placing a flag on the roof of a house. Education is the reason for the house’s existence. It is the concrete that holds the bricks together. It’s what makes the house your home.

I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand

I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand

Tropenmuseum Junior deals with people, objects, stories and activities



We are an ethnographic museum dealing with people therefore presenting only material collection is not enough.



We are a museum for children. Looking and listening are very important but these in themselves are not enough.



Looking and listening are very important but not enough 8


Our subjects come alive because children take an active part in the exhibition providing the best learning conditions, those of ‘learning by doing’.



Our subjects come alive because children take an active part in the exhibition 12


We consider intangible heritage as an integral part of museum heritage. This naturally includes stories, songs, dance, music, food and drink, production processes and events. To really do justice to the culture on exhibit these components are brought together.



Since 1975 onwards we have been traveling, collecting objects, stories, images and activity ideas. Objects are not chosen for their uniqueness but are chosen to fit in with our interactive method.



The children enter the exhibition in an immersive way, for example in a train carriage. The interior of which comes from Mumbai itself, and through the windows travellers can see Mumbai passing by via a film made for this purpose. The children are immediately involved in the story.



We develop exhibitions about present-day cultures. We try to strip back complex realities to their bare essentials and above all match these with the children's perceptions.



Research is the basis of everything we develop: the exhibition, the programmes, along with all the activities and the stories, by-products such as books, audio-visuals, new media productions, the teacher's manual, PR. Last but not least the research is used in training of the staff.



Research is the basis of everything we develop



We strive to gain a comprehensive approach where shape and content, objects and activities, staff and children, are all limbs of the same body.



The exhibition design is a narrative space design in which the visitor forms part of the exhibition. It is not only about ‘looking at’ or ‘listening to’ It is about ‘being part of’.



It is not about ‘looking at’ or ‘listening to’ but about ‘being part of’ 30


Trying to make the unfamiliar familiar is fundamental to us. We try to bridge gaps between people from different cultures without naming the differences and without comparing one culture with another.



Sentences such as ‘that’s what people do there’ or 'different from us’ or ‘it’s their tradition’ are avoided.



Essential to this personal approach is that life can not be explained in general terms. We try to bring life elsewhere as close as possible to the children. By being specific and personal children can make individual links to their own life.



The surprise elements of life are very useful in our work. The skill of the exhibition maker lies in the ability to spot them and use them.



Children live in the real world. A world becoming smaller through travel and communication. We do not take children into a children’s world. Children are interested in real life.



Our subjects do not come from a ‘children’s world’. The main characters in the story do not have to be children. By using this approach children are taken seriously.



People are the most interactive medium. The staff working with the children represent the culture on exhibit. Their added value is irreplaceable. The staff is personally connected to the exhibition subject, adding their valuable knowledge and personality to the programme.



Guided by the staff, the children bring the exhibition to life. They tell the tales, play the roles and dance. They play music, they inspire the visitors to participate actively, they interact with the public, they organize, guide, and encourage, they moderate, they improvise and transmit the exhibition’s content in a lively way. 46


children bring the exhibition to life



The staff teaches the visitors that it is worthwhile and fun to encounter the unknown with curiosity and an open mind.



We break patterns. During school visits the teachers play their own role in the programme stepping out of their teaching role for a few hours. They become – for example - a Persian Poet. Breaking this pattern opens paths to new interactions.



Museum work is teamwork. As each person is happily different from the next, each staff member’s special qualities are used to their fullest extent whenever possible.



The exhibition needs to suit the people working in it, the children visiting it and the culture on exhibit. The love that has been put into every detail makes all the difference.



The love that has been put into every detail makes all the difference



The photo’s in this publication are from seven different exhibitions:

● ● ● ● ● ● ● 60

China’s Qi about the Qi (vital energy) of China / 2009-2012 Bombay Star about Mumbai, city of dreams / 2006-2009 Paradise & Co about the colours of Iran 2003-2006 Mysteries of the Palace about the symbols of the Ashanti in Ghana / 2000-2003 Indigenous people of the Bolivian Andes about their philosophy on encountering opposites / 1997-2000 Stories to know where to go about the Australian aboriginal Wild Honey clan / 1995-1997 Invisible guests about gods, ancestors and demons on Bali / 1992-1994 61

It is only possible to visit Tropenmuseum Junior by taking part in one of the various tours. In addition to the tours designed for children aged 6-13, there are also tours for all age-groups and tours for school groups. Museum professionals are welcome to join a tour and talk to a staff member by appointment.

Tropenmuseum Junior Linnaeusstraat 2 1092 CK Amsterdam + 31 (0) 20 568 82 33 62


Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen

Tropenmuseum Junior works within the objective of the Tropenmuseum, which falls under the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), an independent centre of knowledge and expertise, which contributes to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and cultural preservation and exchange. 64

Š 2010 Tropenmuseum Junior graphic design marjolein ruiter, amsterdam

since 1975

color management grafimedia, amsterdam printed by drukkerij van stiphout, helmond photography Irene de Groot, Steef Meyknecht, Ivar Pel, Paul Romijn, Liesbet Ruben, Raymond Rutting.

Tropenmuseum Junior  

Achtergrondinformatie over Tropenmuseum Junior, onderdeel van Tropenmuseum sinds 1975.

Tropenmuseum Junior  

Achtergrondinformatie over Tropenmuseum Junior, onderdeel van Tropenmuseum sinds 1975.