Diary of a museum geek
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
The Smithsonian Institution in the United State is the world’s largest research and museum complex with 19 museums and galleries, housing 137 millions objects.
So, if you were to spend your time looking at every single object in the museum, who knows when will you ever finish.
With so many intriguing collections-each with their own history and past, a museum can sometimes be overwhelming especially if it has a lot of things for one to take it all in.
Having spent 30 to 40 years of his life visiting museums in all seven continents, Hans van de Bunte from the Sarawak Museum Department lost count of how many museums he had visited throughout his life.
“I do not look at all the objects, it is not possible for me. I walk in and just glance through the room – the paintings that catch my eye – that is the one that I will go to,” said Hans from his personal experience.
For each person, it might be a different object that attracts them and it could differ the next time they visit the same museum.
During a sharing session recently at the Museum Cafe & Shop in Kuching on April 20th, Hans shared his experience of some of the interesting museums that he had visited over the years.
Throughout his experience visiting museums all over the world, it can be a bit overwhelming. Adding that it was impossible to take it all in at one go, Hans advised to choose objects that attract you in an instant so that you can appreciate it to the fullest.
“I take it slow, I stop, I look, I analyze and appreciate. Don’t try to grasp everything, museums are full of objects,” said Hans as it all depends on one’s mood and feeling during that moment and also who you are with at the time.
In Europe, Hans said that he can easily visit up to 10 museums in a week.
Besides preserving collections of the past for the future generations, another reason why museums have vast collections is for research purposes.
According to Hans, for one to truly understand an object by a certain artist, one has to look at their other works to understand why it was created a certain way.
“So you need all these multiple objects to understand one object. That is why museums collect and keep on collecting.
While traditional museums are all about collections with little description and background stories of each object, Hans observed that the museums nowadays often experiment with new ways to exhibit their collections and are trending towards creating interaction and new experiences with the visitors.
By organising art performances and theaters, the museums create a different atmosphere and image to attract a diversity of visitors such as photographers, designers and especially younger audiences.
Engagement and interactivity also give the museums an opportunity to work with multiple organisations, designers, and young people.
“It all adds to the experience and also that people prefer to not only have a cognitive experience but also to understand and feel something. So, it is more towards multi-sensorial experiences nowadays,” he said.
Since more people came to appreciate museum beyond just the cognitive experience, perhaps this is what we anticipate from our new museum in the future.
The Sharing My Passion event at the Museum Cafe & Shop is a platform for artists, artisans, musicians, naturalists, travelers and dreamers to share their passion. It is held every week on Wednesday on 5.30 pm.
For more updates on their upcoming events, check out their facebookpage at: https://www.facebook.com/sharingmypassion/