What did 2019 bring you? The end of the year is invariably a time to take stock and ask ourselves the big questions.
We are counting our blessings.
Our 2019: LAM team
In a museum that is all about attention, the staff are everything. It goes without saying that the building is an architectural gem and the art collection is exceptional and surprising, but without our staff, you would experience just half its wonder.
Their warm welcome makes you feel at home here and they are always ready to help you with stimulating questions, viewing tips or just a listening ear. They investigate and discuss things with you. They see things through your eyes and end up experiencing things anew. Sometimes, they even teach you a new language. And more often than not, they are inspired by you.
Art with chocolate sprinkles
Visitors often tell us that they have never talked so much in a museum before. It might well be true. There is nothing better than going on a voyage of discovery with your fellow visitors, whether you know them or not, and the staff. Together, you look at things differently and see more. It’s what we firmly believe: having someone else accompany you can undoubtedly open your eyes and broaden your gaze and that certainly applies to us too. Visitors surprise us time and time again with new insights and discoveries about art or something else entirely.
We asked our colleagues to share the best or most extraordinary experience they have had with a visitor.
Saskia, visitor service employee, tells us her story
One of the best experiences with a visitor started with chocolate sprinkles. With a drawing by Mieke Fokkinga, to be precise, who had drawn the little pieces of chocolate on paper sprinkle by sprinkle. I got talking to a young woman and found out that she had just eaten chocolate sprinkles for the first time ever. She was an au pair and had been in the Netherlands for less than a week. The way that she was open to new people and fresh experiences reminded me of myself in the days when I was an au pair in Paris, years ago. I used to go to museums three times a week. I was standing on my own two feet in a foreign country and was just so keen to absorb all the things that were new and different and make them my own. This young woman was just as inquisitive and had the same zest for life.
The thing that was so great was that she came back to the museum about three weeks later, this time with a German friend who was also an au pair. We recognised each other right away and once again got talking about the artworks and the subjects they portray. She told me that she was keen to learn Dutch. I promised her that, on her next visit, I would use the art to teach her some of her first words.
Ward, student, floor manager and visitor service employee, tells us his story
It’s funny because I’m really not a talker, especially with people I don’t know, let alone about art. I ended up working here by chance. The great thing is that now I’m interacting with people all day long, talking and inspiring them with art; not that it requires much effort from me! Visitors also make me feel excited about an artwork on a regular basis. You hear their ideas and get to see things through their eyes for a moment or two.
I couldn’t say which of my experiences was the best, but a young visitor surprised me the other day. A mother asked whether she could touch the art and I had to tell her that unfortunately it wasn’t allowed. Her daughter, I think she was about 10, had something wonderful to add by saying: “It doesn’t matter. if you look at it closely with your eyes, you can actually feel it too.” Very well put, don’t you think?