Mas in Young Hands
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MAS in Young Hands | MAS in Jonge Handen
To get more young people to visit the museum, MAS started the project "MAS in Young Hands", even before the opening of the museum. One year later, it's evaluation time. A critical analysis by Wouter Hillaert, freelance journalist.
How to get more young people to visit museums? Easy: just hand it over to them. Thanks, said ten young Antwerpers between the ages of 15 and 25 years. In the frame of the project, MAS in Jonge Handen (MAS in Young Hands), they have access to the depot, they can put together their own exhibitions and they can wave their own access badge at the entrance like all other MAS employees.
But now these young volunteers will also have to convey the museum collection’s appeal to other young people. Did we say ‘easy’? Admittedly the handover was not unsupervised. The art educational organisation De Veerman lent a hand, with an intensive training program.
Imagine just another Saturday in Antwerp’s MAS. Groups of visitors make their way up the escalators and then fan out across the various floors to visit the permanent exhibitions.
A fundamental aspect of the power source that MAS in Jonge Handen can be for the whole museum is the fact that the museum’s directors have always considered this to be a priority.
A spider also has to understand the lines of its web. The objective on the one hand is that young people should feel at home in the MAS. At the same time they should become acquainted with the collection itself.
During a first stage – the input stage – the training program challenges young people to do more than just hang around the corridors.
In a second stage – the experimentation stage – De Veerman incited the young people to start developing some initiatives of their own.
So what have MAS and De Veerman learned from the project up until now? Can other cultural institutions use these insights to adapt their own activities?