How do you get youngsters into a museum?

Is it possible to measure the social impact of doing cultural stuff, like going to a museum? Yes, it is! The Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum wants to attract certain young citizens from the capital and works together with the Erasmus Impact Center Erasmus (ICE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam to make this happen.

During a four-year program called 'Van Gogh verbindt' (Van Gogh Connects) the art temple wants to organise around 40 activities for youngsters with a Surinamese, Turkish, Antillean, and Moroccan background. Director Axel Rüger wants ‘Van Gogh's legacy to be meaningful to everyone,’ and find out how the painter can also ‘inspire’ young people in Amsterdam. Furthermore, Rüger wants to create awareness of cultural diversity within its own organisation: 'We want it to be accessible to everyone,' he said.

But how does one measure impact? Marjelle Oosterling-Vermeulen from Impact Centre Erasmus (ICE) explains: 'We want to assemble treatment groups and control groups and let them participate in workshops, exhibitions, et cetera'.

They want these groups to represent the whole Van Gogh target group: people who are already interested in cultural activities, and people who never go to museums. 'Our challenge now is to find the right people for these groups.'

'Impact on society means impact economically, socially, and environmentally. We look at the social aspect, linked to the Van Gogh mission. We build on existing publications that measure the feeling of being socially included. Based on all this we can say something about the added value on the ambition to become part of society.'

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