First six Museum Grants awarded

20 April 2015

Six museum employees – each together with a professor – will carry out scientific research thanks to a Museum Grant of maximum 62,500 euros. The purpose of the programme Museum Grants is to encourage talent development and scientific research in the museums sector. Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Jet Bussemaker, has made 800,000 euros available for this until the end of 2016. The second funding round will take place in November 2015.

Gathering personal stories for the collection (Credits: Catharijneconvent Museum)Gathering personal stories for the collection items (Credits: Catharijneconvent Museum)

For museums, scientific research forms the source for new stories that can be told about and with the collection. Research proposals for the Museum Grants must be aimed at the collection, education, digitisation or reaching of a new public and the results must directly benefit museum practice. Proposals are assessed for scientific quality and societal relevance.

The programme Museum Grants is based on the joint research agenda for museums: The National Research Agenda for the Museums Sector, which was developed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science together with the Museums Association, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History and experts from the museums sector.

The six projects awarded funding are:

Optical measurement methods
Applicant: T.  (Tiemen) Cocquyt, Museum Boerhaave
Co-applicant: Prof. F. (Frans) van Lunteren, Universiteit Leiden

A technical investigation of 17th- and 18th-century telescopes, microscopes and optical instruments. By combining the outcomes with scarcely studied 17th-century sources that provide an insight into the lens polishing practice in the Netherlands, a better idea can be obtained of the development, practice and economics of the Dutch optical culture. Optical instruments were the driving force behind the scientific revolution, and scientific breakthroughs were to a large extent guided by innovations in lens polishing technology.

Family conversations
Applicant: R.K. (Rooske) Franse, Science Center NEMO
Co-applicant: Pof. M.E.J. (Maartje) Raijmakers, Universiteit van Amsterdam

The aim of the project is to develop and test an approach to encourage richer conversations and more intensive experimental activities to discover things among families that visit a museum.

Return to Paris
Applicant: M. (Mayken) Jonkman, RKD – Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis
Co-applicant: Prof. W.E. (Wessel) Krul,  Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

An investigation of the cultural mobility and network activities of Dutch artists in Paris between 1800 and 1900. Where did they stay, who did they meet and with which ideas did they come back? The results of this research will be presented at an exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and possibly in the Petit Palais in Paris as well.

The object translated
Applicant: M. (Marije) de Nood, Museum Catharijneconvent (MCC)
Co-applicant: Prof. J. (Joris) van Eijnatten Universiteit Utrecht
an investigation of the best way to collect 20th- and 21st-century personal stories about objects in the collection and then to store, disclose, present and share these and to link them to our own and external collections. The research will result in the model in which people can sustainably connect their stories with the material collection of the MCC via participation. Through this research, stories will be connected with the material collection (also online) and vice versa and people will be connected with each other. The results will also be applicable for other heritage institutions.

Framing Indonesian art
Applicant: M.J. (Mirjam) Shatanawi, Tropenmuseum
Prof. A.C.A.E. (Annelies) Moors, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Framing Indonesian art: an investigation of the virtual absence of Indonesia in the story about Islamic art history in museums. Art and consumer objects from Indonesia in museums in the Netherlands and elsewhere rarely carry the label Islamic. And that is also the case in Indonesia. The research will focus on a number of objects that were collected in the colonial period in Islamic areas in Indonesia and will ascertain which historical conditions have led to this Indonesian Islamic art being excluded. Possible alternative approaches will also be investigated.

Framing prostitution
Applicant: A.C.C. (Annemarie) de Wildt, Amsterdam Museum
Prof. S. (Susan) Legêne, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
An investigation of iconographic, aesthetic and anthropological attribution of meaning to objects, applied to choices in storylines and objects from two recent exhibitions about prostitution. Annemarie de Wildt was the curator of both exhibitions. The aim is to gain a better understanding of how the public relates to objects that belong to a controversial subject. The research will partly take place in a MuseumLab: a temporary set up in the Amsterdam Museum that will contain several key objects with respect to prostitution. By means of observation and conversations it will be investigated which meanings visitors attach to these objects and which effects certain museum choices elicit in the visitors.

Further information

This is a joint press release from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.


NWO Humanities
Janneke van Kersen
+31 06 – 25027176

Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, spokesperson
Aicha Lubbinge

Source: NWO

Further information

NWO, Information and Communication Department, tel.: +31 70 344 07 41