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Miscellaneous > 17.4 Exhibition Design

Museum of the mind

by Kossmanndejong

The new exhibition at the Museum van de Geest (Museum of the Mind) is all about the wonder and versatility of the human mind. At the renewed museum, people tell their own stories, away from the stereotypes and taboos usually associated with mental health. To tie all the ends of the exhibition together, visitors sign the Declaration of the Open Mind. Their declaration finds its place on one of the thousands of wires in the final room, thus making the visitor part of the museum forever. With this small ritual, they make a promise to themselves to keep an open mind, long after their visit. In this way, the exhibition aims to contribute to a more empathetic and inclusive society.
Personal stories told through an audio guide create intimate moments that visitors can relate to and will remember for a long time. They aim to create empathy for those around us, and a deeper understanding of our own mind: does it define who you are? how do you take care of it? can you heal a broken mind? While the subject can sometimes be confronting, the use of color and interactive installations keep the style light and pleasant. The presentation offers moments of pause and reflection. It combines art, science, and history to offer an approach for each type of visitor. The many content layers allow for a quick visit as well as a deep dive.
The wayfinding using wire and nails are a metaphor for the fragility and uniqueness of our minds. We are all wired differently. They also tie everything together, making suggestions for connecting different topics and objects. They all come together in the end, covering the entire ceiling with declarations of visitors. The nails are hammered directly into the wall, showing the bare walls of the historical building. This building, which has witnessed 700 years of psychiatrical history, truly deserves to be in the spotlight. That is why it is the main narrator of the audioguide.
The setting is the centuries-old former Plague, Dol and Leproos House of the city of Haarlem, for which Kossmanndejong also developed the exhibition in 2005 and 2015. Where psychiatry was the main subject before, now the mind is placed in a much broader perspective and self-reflection is central. The studio has conceptualised and designed the permanent display and the audio guide which takes you on a quest.
What made the process more special this time was the close collaboration between the museum and KDJ – special workshops ensured that the final product was a sensitive, stigma-free narrative attuned to the museum and its stakeholders.

  • Creative Directors Robert van der Linde
  • Art Directors
  • Designers Julia Meyerrose, Sietske Sips, Femke Bijlsma, Wendy Snoek, Remco Swart, Justin van den Berg
  • Illustrators
  • Photographers Thijs Wolzak
  • Editors
  • Copywriters
  • Build Fiction Factory
  • Audio direction and production of the personal portraits Jesper Buursink, Mitchell van Ommeren
  • Script writer Rik van den Bos
  • Multimedia guide Ijsfontein
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