The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen has begun selling tickets this month to the world’s first fully accessible art museum storage facility that will house its entire 151,000 strong collection.
A six-storey, mirrored building in Rotterdam’s Museum Park will open on 6 November and make the entire internationally renowned Boijmans Van Beuningen art collection accessible to the public.
The new Rotterdam art depot will include public spaces for storage and care, an event space with a height of 34m, a restaurant and roof forest.
But most importantly it will provide visitors with the opportunity to go behind the scenes and experience the processes involved in the preservation and management of a collection.
Making the collection accessible
“We believe that making the collection accessible shows how much we care and how well we take care of it,” said Sjarel Ex and Ina Klaassen, joint directors at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. “That is something the inhabitants of Rotterdam will be proud of; something that they want to see with their own eyes, because they are part owners of this enormous art treasure.”
The museum proudly states that now the back of the museum has actually become the front and the care of the collection has become part of the public programme.
“In this building the entire collection can be seen as a mass and the care, handling and restoration of art objects is central. The visitor sees what a museum does behind the scenes and experiences what is involved in the preservation and management of a collection.”
The Boijmans Van Beuningen collection covers seven centuries of Western art history from 1400 to the present. This includes more than 63,000 paintings, photographs, films, pre-industrial and design objects, contemporary art installations, sculptures and 88,000 prints and drawings.
The aim of the museum, supported by the De Verre Bergen Foundation and the Municipality of Rotterdam, was that the entire museum collection would be accessible under one roof in an open depot in the city centre, instead of a closed depot in an industrial area.
Previously the art depot was in the basement of the adjacent Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and was unsafe, susceptible to flooding, overcrowded and dated. Since 2015, the museum depots have been increasingly emptied and the art is stored in five external depots in the Netherlands and abroad.
The new depot will now transform how the collection is viewed and experienced and was designed by architectural firm MVRDV and is being built by BAM Bouw en Techniek.
About the author – Adrian Murphy
Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.