the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has come up with a masterpiece of a campaign called #Startdrawing that encourages guests to sketch rather than snap pictures of its works of art.
The Rijksmuseum hasn’t outright banned the use of cameras or mobile phones on its premises, but it has strongly discouraged it by displaying an image of a crossed-out camera right above its main entrance.
Rijksmuseum believes that media has devolved a visit to a museum into “a passive and superficial experience,” according to its website.
Museums, competing with other places of cultural interest, are working hard to increase “footfall” – the numbers attending. Some employ outreach workers to attract visitors. “One thing museums need to do to survive and thrive is challenge the preconceptions of their audience,” William Cook wrote in The Spectator. This is particularly the case when so much historical and artistic information is available online, he argued. Institutional stuffiness and aloofness are two of the threats. Those on the Art Fund’s short list have devised innovative ways of engaging with the public. During its £4m redevelopment, Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History allowed some of its specimens to “escape” to the city. Bookworms were seen in a bookshop and a penguin turned up a fishmongers. The museum set up a Goes To Town trail for those interested in finding out more about animals.