Special Guests: the programme in which the visitor has central place. The Van Abbemuseum is accessible to anyone who is curious, whether you are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. Even if you’re not able to come to the museum yourself, the museum can visit you. There are no limits to Van Abbe.
Experiencing the museum and the works of art with all the senses not only provides added value for these target groups with special needs, but also contributes to the museum experience of every visitor in a special way.
Since the launch in October 2014, there have been recurring activities every month, and various modifications have been carried out to improve access to the museum. In addition the Special Guests programme continues to develop and improve, always in close collaboration with the target groups and organizations of interested parties.
The Special Guests programme is made possible by the participants in the BankGiro Lottery.
Visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing
Every other month, one of our deaf guides gives a free tour in sign language of one of the exhibitions in the museum. Participation in the tour is free when you present a valid entry ticket. The regular entry price applies for this.
Special guests app
Patients and visitors in a hospital spend a lot of time waiting in different waiting rooms. There’s plenty of time to dive into the museum collection with the Special Guests app. This app was developed in collaboration with the Radboudumc and INTK and was launched in the Radboudumc on 11 November 2015.
Sixteen children between the ages of 5 and 17 share their stories about flippers and swimming gloves, a man made of cement, ladders into the blue sky, and many other things. The inspiration for these stories are works of art from the collections of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the Radboudumc in Nijmegen: from beautiful to modern and from enigmatic to very moving works of art. You don’t have to be an art connoisseur to listen to these young heroes talking about the most diverse things which they see happening in the works of art.
The Van Abbemuseum does not wish to keep the knowledge and experience which it has gained from the Special Guests programme for itself. The museum is keen to share this with other institutions and interested parties who submit an application, and does so in a tailor-made way so that more and more museums provide better access for everyone. If you have any questions, contact Glenda Pattipeilohy, coordinator of the Special Guests programme.
KUNSTBLOK is a mobile travelling workshop which is traveling through the gardens of Vitalis WoonZorg Groep for two years. There is an artist in residence on location, where artists can make new works inspired by and together with the people from the care homes. In 2015 the designer Tsjalke Bouwma started the ball rolling, and then lived and worked in Vitalis Wilgenhof in Eindhoven. KUNSTBLOK is part of the Van Abbemuseum Special Guests programme and an initiative of Maaike Mul (coordinator of Art and Culture at Vitalis) and Ontwerpbureau Volle Kracht.
Low impact visit to the museum
A visit to a museum can be very tiring because of all the impressions that you have to process in a short space of time. This certainly applies for people who process stimuli in a different way, for example, as the result of autism, illness or disabilities, and who sometimes have less energy, so that a visit to the museum can become an exhausting experience. Therefore we set up a pilot study in collaboration with the Stichting Onbeperkt Genieten (Foundation for Unlimited Enjoyment) to organize a low impact visit to the museum, to meet the specific needs of this varied group of visitors. We are currently working on the development of the pilot for the low impact visit to the museum and would be pleased to keep you informed.
Tours for the blind and visually impaired
Every second Sunday of the month there is a free interactive tour for the blind and the visually impaired. During the tour original works of art can be touched and we bring the art to life by means of replicas and materials that can be felt, physical contact, odors, taste, music, literature and poetry. This type of tour was developed together with the target group and tested in detail. There is a new tour every month through a different part of the museum, so that you can discover something new every time.
Unforgettable Van Abbe
In collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Van Abbemuseum set up a special programme for people with Alzheimer’s and their carers in April 2013. It was inspired by the Meet Me at MoMA programme of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
More and more people are directly or indirectly confronted with dementia and Alzheimer’s. There is still no cure for these diseases. Looking at art gives people suffering from dementia an opportunity to exchange ideas without having to rely on their short-term memory, and it provides access to the long-term memory and personal experiences. Moreover, looking at art stimulates the brain with cognitive exercise. Research has shown that this has a positive effect on health.
Unforgettable Van Abbe consists of interactive tours round the museum. Looking at art in this way gives people who are affected by Alzheimer’s the opportunity to express themselves and enter into a dialogue with their environment. One of the special features of the Unforgettable Van Abbe programme is that it not only leads to an improvement of the quality of life of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, but that it can also have a positive effect on carers and the relationship between the two. In this way the museum also provides a safe and inspirational environment to come into contact with other people suffering from this disease. During the programme the focus is on positive, creative and inspiring elements, not on the disease itself.
Everyone uses language. Talking, finding the right words, understanding, reading and even gesturing are all part of our use of language. When one or more aspects of our use of language no longer works very well as a result of a brain injury, this is known as aphasia. This means that language can no longer be used for expressing oneself as well as in the past.
The Van Abbemuseum started a special programme for this group of visitors in April 2015. With Spraakmakend Van Abbe we provide interactive tours in the museum that were developed in collaboration with the target group and Mijke Ulrich, an expert in this field. During the tour the focus is on a positive, creative and inspirational experience. Mijke describes this as “Open your heart”. Looking at the art together and the possibility of expressing yourself about your experiences are a central element of the tour. Mijke Ulrich and the guide Jenneke Lambert work together to achieve this.
Visiting the museum with a robot
People who are unable to visit the museum because of their physical limitations can still view the exhibitions in the Van Abbemuseum. These people can experience the museum and the art from the comfort of their own environment with the help of a robot. It’s possible to steer this robot through the museum yourself. There’s always someone accompanying the robot who can also communicate with the visitor from a distance. It’s also possible to organize a tour with detailed explanations of the works of art.
This robot can also be used, for example, by curious visitors who live in a different country and are not able to visit the museum, or by schoolchildren who would like to experience the museum and the works of art more often during their lessons without having to leave the classroom. The museum robot becomes a tool for education.