adornment as medium
The potential of museum collections
Adornment offers a caleidoscopic view of life and is an excellent medium to offer a more inclusive and multivocal presentation. It harbours stories from within a community, and as such functions as an emic source. The jewellery and other objects in your museum are not only suitable for the history of adornment, but can help you illustrate and communicate storylines about trade and cultural contacts, wars and displacement, microfinances and household economies. And what to think of a community’s relation with the natural environment, or the agency of jewellery in intangible culture such as oral history, informal ritual and belief, and festivities? Your collection holds an abundance of storytelling possibilities, and it will be my pleasure to help you share those.
Collection registration is a fundamental service I provide to museums.
Old collections – Many museums have existing collections of jewellery and adornment, that have been assembled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Information is often limited or outdated: object names, use, geographical region or tribal affiliation are unknown. I complete your registration with object ID’s and up-to-date references, and create a sound basis for your work.
Recent collections – Increasingly, museums are offered or bequeathed collections of expats or collectors. Not all of these collections are properly inventoried and described. I create a complete registration file for you.
Collection history – In both cases, I include the collection history as well. This is not only important for provenance clarifications, but helps us to understand the diachrone biography of these pieces – and in turn, their cultural background.
As guest curator I develop exhibitions from concept to execution. I enjoy placing personal adornment at the intersection of storylines and integrate other forms of material culture as well in order to open up new experiences. Jewellery is not a separate world: a combination with dress and other forms of personal adornment is obvious, but how about combining jewellery with architecture or medicine? I work with you to create a concept that fits into a particular theme or overarching narrative and the mission of your museum. Concepts are always scaleable to available space and intended audience. They can be based in your own collection or expanded upon with loans from private or public collections.
Collection research and outreach
What stories does your collection have to share? I help you serve your audience by developing a series of outreach tools.
Digital outreach – The online world is of growing importance to museums. Your collection is very suitable for online learning, digital exhibitions or a social media campaign. Tell your story online in an engaging and creative way! I develop online concepts and write the accompanying texts.
On-site events – Hosting a jewellery exhibition? I can help you create a varied and interesting side program: workshops, guided tours, school packages and talks.
Research – Bringing your collection to your audience in writing! A complete catalogue, a series of booklets on your collection, journal contributions or leaflets – I find the stories in your collection and share them in well researched texts.
I have worked on collections and individual object ID’s for The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, U.S.), The Indiana University Museum for Archaeology and Anthropology (Bloomington, U.S.), Musée Royal de Mariemont (Mariemont, BE), National Museum of Antiquities (Leiden, NL). In the context of my PhD-research I have worked on collections in Oldenburg and Dresden (DE), Basel and Vienna (AU) and Oxford (GB).
I have curated exhibitions for the National Museum of Antiquities (Leiden, NL), Museum Het Markiezenhof (Bergen op Zoom, NL) and CODA (Apeldoorn, NL).