From the second half of september, works by artists including Jacob van Ruisdael, Man Ray and Wim T. Schippers is travelling to primary and secondary schools in Rotterdam. The programme appears to be the first of its kind: nowhere in the world are precious works of art taken into schools on this scale. More than ninety schools have already booked a ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’ lesson in which professional art handlers bring artworks from the museum’s collection into schools and a museum docent teaches a class about the selected artwork.
Over the next seven years, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is undergoing a large-scale renovation and modernisation programme. During this period, the museum is ensuring that the collection remains visible among schoolchildren so that they can grow up with an awareness of the museum’s famous art collection. The museum’s entire collection of 151,000 artworks will be accessible in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2021, but before then part of the collection will visit primary and secondary schools in Rotterdam under the name ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Dozens of unique works of art have been selected. The programme kicks off this week with artworks and museum docents visiting schools in Rotterdam South: a first for Rotterdam and the international museum world.
‘Boijmans in the Classroom provides an opportunity to see world-class artworks in your own classroom, giving an extra dimension to how art can be experienced. It is wonderful that this project has been made possible.’
Sjarel Ex, director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Art + docent in the classroom
Now, primary and secondary schools in the Rotterdam area can choose from a range of ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’ lessons. Paulo the Parrot will visit the youngest children with sculptures of animals. Older pupils can choose between seventeenth-century artefacts, Surrealist artworks or Conceptual art. Several lessons were tested last month at the Globetrotter primary school in Katendrecht.
‘For our school, Rotterdam is our classroom, and ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’ gives us the opportunity to bring the city into the school. It’s a win-win situation for us: we get teaching materials from outside the school and art becomes more ‘real’, and we don’t even have to travel for it.’
Jorn van Dam, Deputy director of De Globetrotter
Pilot: tailor-made partnerships
Alongside the lessons in the classroom, the museum is experimenting with other approaches. As a pilot scheme, the museum has established a partnership with pupils at De Theater HAVO/VWO, a school for theatre and film studies. During the recent National Museum Week, third-year design students curated an exhibition with twenty objects from the collection. The museum is exploring how to establish similar partnerships with other schools.