Workshop: Youth Involvement – Key for the Future Museum?

The MAS is a museum where you get acquainted with Antwerp in the world and the world in Antwerp. Antwerp is a city on a river. It has a port. For centuries this has made it a place of meeting, encounter and exchange. The MAS takes up the traces of these exchanges and with them tells us new stories. About the city, the river and the port. About the world in all its diversity. About the essential connection between Antwerp and the world.

The MAS is a museum designed for people, and pays attention to several different target groups. The MAS strategically chooses to implement a younger target group into its objectives. Since 2006 the museum has investigated new methods for youth participation in museums. This has lead to two reports:
- ‘Kies*: bijna 150 aanbevelingen voor een MAS in Jonge Handen’ (‘Choose*: nearly 150 recommendations for MAS IN JONGE HANDEN’)
- ‘A la karte: Een bevraging van Antwerpse jongeren over hun visie op musea’ (‘A la karte: an inquiry of Antwerp youngsters about their views on museums’)

In 2010 the segment MAS IN JONGE HANDEN was established. This is the young crew affiliated with the MAS museum. Youngsters possess a certain knowhow when it comes down to evaluating how their peers feel about a museum and what they expect from it. A group of volunteers between 15 and 26 years old occupies itself with creating a youngster-oriented museum program.

In 2013 the MAS won the Silletto Award during the European Museum of the Year Award Ceremony. Which is a real honour and a huge recognition for the young crew of the MAS.

“The MAS has sought new forms of public participation fit for a modern, city museum. Its ‘In Jonge Handen’ program involves young people who, as volunteers, are trained as museum staff and perform activities, assist with exhibitions and other museums events so that they can get a sense of the museum’s extensive collection. Subsequently they are able to stimulate other young people’s interest in the museum in the future, functioning as ambassadors. Moreover the MAS thereby allows its own expertise and objectives to be questioned by those youngsters. The judges make the ‘Silletto Award’ to the Museum aan de Stroom for the effectiveness of its empowerment of a new generation of participants.”

In our workshop we introduce to you our young crew, we apply the methods and approaches we use when working with youngsters in the museum and we discuss our recent successes and weaknesses of MAS IN JONGE HANDEN.