The planned Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen will be a genuine public building. It will be fully accessible to the public, except for the areas for security and possibly private depositories.
The building can be visited in three ways. You can go, free of charge, from the coffee bar on the ground floor to the roof terrace and the restaurant there, even if the rest of the building is closed. On the way to the top, you can, of course, see everything that is happening with the collection.
Visitors who would like to take a peek behind the scenes of a museum can, after buying a ticket, stroll through a large part of the building. During this stroll, they can visit the educational area, the galleries, exhibitions rooms and the knowledge centre where, for example, art objects are restored. They can peer into the collection depositories through windows, a sort of diorama. Sometimes the exhibition area of a private collector is also accessible. The stroll ends on the roof terrace.
Visitors who want to see even more can actually enter the collection depositories and view the works stored there. That is possible for a small supplementary charge and takes place in groups under the leadership of a guide. The tour passes numerous art works, such as installations, old paintings, modern photographs, sturdy sculptures and fragile china. Because of the enormous size of the collection, these ‘guided tours’ are never the same twice.
The museum uses the public areas to try out new ideas in the field of education and presentation.
The first category of visitors can enter via the entrance hall on the ground floor and take the express elevator to the Grand Café with terrace in the park on the roof. On the way to the top in the transparent lift, the visitors will catch a glimpse of everything that is taking place in the building: the atrium in which the enormous size of the collection is already visible and perceptible. On the roof, there is also a gallery/presentation area showing a spectacular semi-permanent multimedia presentation giving information about collecting, the collection (and how it has been accumulated), the operation of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen and the architecture. This presentation is also free of charge to the public. In the roof park, which offers a 360-degree panorama across the city, visitors can also discover art objects from the collection.
Visitors who would like to take an independent peek behind the screens of a museum can, after buying a ticket, stroll through a large part of the building. They can walk through some 45% of the building and in addition, a large part can further be viewed from behind glass.
During their stroll, the visitors can via the Atrium visit the educational area, the cinema and film cabins, the presentation / exhibition areas and the knowledge centre where, for example, art objects are restored. For the individual visitor, the trip to the top is an end in itself: adventurous and informative. Everywhere they go they can peep inside.
They can also peer into the collection depositories through windows, a sort of diorama, and also into the restoration studios and the technical areas. Sometimes the exhibition area of a private collector is also accessible. Throughout the tour, special ‘background information places’ are located wherever there are views into these areas. Spoken and written texts and digital media provide information about the function of the space, the activities being undertaken by the people working there and the specific sub-collections that are located there.
The visitor can also enter the various galleries/presentation areas for small exhibitions or other types of presentations about the collection and issues such as management and preservation, or presentations by the collectors. The multimedia presentation on the top floor and a stroll through the roof park are, for this category of visitors, the final chapter, summing up everything they have discovered during their visit.
Lastly, visitors can choose to join, for a small fee, a guided tour through the areas that are usually closed to the public. Visitors can actually enter the collection depositories and view the works stored there. In addition, a visit will also be made to the art treatment rooms and the technical areas. The tours take place under the leadership of a guide and a security officer and pass numerous art works, such as installations, old paintings, modern photographs, sturdy sculptures and fragile china. Because of the enormous size of the collection and the wide range of supporting areas and functions, these high frequency ‘guided tours’ are never the same twice. The guided tours take place daily at fixed times, but can also be booked on request.