Mayke Groffen, new CHC member

Mayke Groffen

We welcome Mayke Groffen as a new research member of the Center for Historical Culture.

She is curator Modern City Culture at the Rotterdam Museum. She received a NWO Museum grant for her PhD research Collecting Suburbia. Contemporary heritage of housing culture (Eigentijds erfgoed van het wonen).

Supervisors: prof.dr. Paul van de Laar (main applicant NWO grant) and prof.dr. Hester Dibbits.



City museums throughout Europe are striving to improve their social significance by involving residents in the heritage of the contemporary city. Although the concept of participative museums has been well explored in presentations, collecting contemporary heritage is presenting new challenges for city museums. Museum Rotterdam would like to investigate to what extent the social aims of museums can be combined with their heritage tasks.

This research will concentrate on post-war housing culture. Museum Rotterdam already has an extensive collection relating to urban society in general. This topic also lends itself for further co-operation with the city museums of The Hague and Zoetermeer to a joint approach to contemporary culture. Furthermore, while housing culture is traditionally well represented in museums it does not adhere to insights and methods from the various scientific disciplines in the field of urban planning, lifestyle and interior.

By means of a case-study, Museum Rotterdam will focus on the geographical suburb Prins Alexander - a neighbourhood in which a range of various Dutch fashions in urban expansion can be found. An important aspect is that the pioneers of the various phases are still alive and able to participate in the investigation.

The results of the initial research phase will be presented in an exhibition. This exhibition will then form the basis for the final research phase in which the input from scholars, museum professionals, residents and the general public will provide insights into the potential and consequences of the various contemporary methods of collecting suburbia.

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