Is Rijksmuseum taking new turns in presenting their content?

Rijksmuseum is pioneering in the cultural/leisure branch with a new way of experiencing art.

In the business of leisure are huge developments and changes on the way regarding experiencing leisure. Rijksmuseum is presenting them self a pioneer on this road of new approaches. This week (28 June, 2018), they presented a new concept for the summer that is going to make it able for customers to experience Rijksmuseum through a whole another perspective than they used to do before. A popular game among young people and young grown-ups, the escape room, is integrated in the museum to let people get to know the museum in a playful way. Experts and fans of the leisure branch are watching the developments with great interest.

Who are the masterminds behind the innovative concept of experiencing art?

The Rijksmuseum has developed the Escape Game, as the escape room is called, together with Magus Cagliostro, one of the most famous magicians of Israel and scriptwriter Luuk van Bemmelen, known from Soof (2017), Penoza (2017) and Dik Trom (2010). Magus Cagliostro has previously developed escape games for the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), the Museum for Clandestine Immigration and Marine (Haifa) and the Madatech Museum (Haifa).

The participants must look for clues in 8,747 art treasures scattered throughout the museum building. ‘And not by areas where it is super-crowded anyway, like for the Night Watch’, emphasizes Luuk van Bemmelen. As a result, they experience the museum in a different way. According to him, there is no educational message hidden in the game. ‘But the intention is that visitors look, through the game, at works of art that they would otherwise pass by. It’s about the discovery of the hidden treasures of the museum.’ A version of the game is available for families with children and one for adults.

Positive feedback on the development

‘In the museum world, there is more and more emphasis on experience’, says Professor Dolly Verhoeven of the Radboud University Nijmegen. She specializes in public-oriented history and was indirectly involved in an escape room at Museum Het Valkhof. ‘It is no longer a couple of showcases with some objects in it and a text sign, or some paintings on the wall. People want to be immersed and experience history. Museums are responding to that by offering this kind of activity. By participating in such a game, visitors will look at the collection with different eyes.’

According to Verhoeven, it is important to look for ways in which museums can reach a new audience. ‘I understand that the Rijksmuseum is experimenting with this form. Especially with young people, escape rooms are very popular. This generation is difficult to reach for museums. I think that especially young adults and thirties are interested in this kind of outings.’

Rijksmuseum is up, who’s next?

With the launch of the Escape Game is Rijksmuseum adapting to a growing need for personalization in the world of mass-tourism. The Escape Game is the first pilot to offer their content in a different way. Questions arise; will others follow Rijksmuseum in this new approach? What is the outcome going to be from this pilot? And finally, what are possible follow-up steps for Rijksmuseum?

More and more leisure businesses seem to get the understanding a new approach is needed in order to remain successful or grow their business. From that perspective is the pilot of Rijksmuseum, known as a large and respected cultural company, a true inspiration for other entrepreneurs and companies active in the leisure branch. The following months will be very interesting and as leisure enthusiast am I curious to the further developments!