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Merel van der Vaart

Merel van der Vaart

City History Curator
Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

As City History Curator at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Merel van der Vaart works on a variety of projects that involve the (recent) history of Schiedam or the museum’s historic collection.

For many of these projects she works with local residents. The output could be an exhibition, as is the case for Out of poverty, but could just as easily be a podcast, talk show or an event at a local care home.

In her work she often focuses on people and stories that are under-represented in the city’s history: women, migrants, the working classes and the LGBTIQ+ community, or indeed those who embody several of those identities.



Merel van der Vaart will be speaking at the Museum Social Impact Summit 2024 :

How can an exhibition about poverty make an impact?

What can a museum offer locals who know the daily stress of not being able to make ends meet? Would an exhibition about poverty help them in any way? Stedelijk Museum Schiedam asked itself these questions for years before deciding: the only way to find out is by doing. But they knew they could never do it alone. The exhibition Out of poverty was created together with eleven Schiedam residents who are ‘experience experts’. One review described the exhibition as one that “crawls under your skin”- a call to action to those living in poverty and those who don’t.

Merel van der Vaart