Opening Up!
Collection Centre Strategies

Friday 28 May 2021
online event, 15:00 - 18:00 hours / 3 - 6 p.m. CET

As a museum professional, how often have you invited a visitor into your museum’s storage facility? Probably never. As a museum visitor, how often have you thought: ‘I’d really like to see the works in storage? Undoubtedly very often. Museum storage facilities have traditionally been invisible and inaccessible to the public, usually housed in anonymous warehouses outside the city or in cellars beneath the museum’s building. But there have been changes in recent years.

An iconic example is the new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, which will open in the autumn of 2021. This storage facility will be fully accessible to the public and occupies a prominent position, right next to the museum. The Netherlands is not alone in developing new ideas about preserving collections and opening them up to the public. The Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SBMK) and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen have organised the online event Opening Up! Collection Centre Strategies about interesting international developments in the field of museum storage.

An international panel of six speakers will share their experiences of combining collection care with public access within their storage facility. How did they conceive and design the building? To what extent is it publicly accessible? How do they guarantee the safety of the collections? And how do they approach their visitors? The symposium will conclude with a round-table discussion with all speakers. As a participant, you will be actively involved in the online event: there will be lots of time for questions and comments from the international audience. The event will have a strong visual component with videos of the buildings’ architecture and internal layouts.

The speakers are:
Sjarel Ex, Director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Joachim Hubert, Consultant at Prevart GmbH, Konzepte für die Kulturgütererhaltung (Concepts for the Preservation of Cultural Assets), Winterthur, Switzerland
Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
Markus Leuthard, Head of the Collections Centre, Swiss National Museum, Affoltern am Albis, Switzerland
Jane Dini, Senior Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
Isabel Friedli, Curator at Schaulager, Basel, Switzerland
download the full program (pdf)

Participation in Opening up! Collection Center Strategies costs €25. Students pay €12.50. When registering, also send a copy of your student card to, otherwise the registration will not apply. The symposium is free for a number of museum employees who pay an annual contribution to the SBMK. (Click here for the conditions).