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Drents Museum Collection presentation from provincial to universal

‘Did you know that the tree-trunk canoe from Pesse is the oldest boat in the world?’ Director Harry Tupan dives right in. ‘We’ve got that here in our museum! We use that boat to recount the story of the hunter-gatherers who journeyed from Russia and the Ukraine to present-day Drenthe, and who later became agriculturalists. We also make the link with the present, for instance about Syrians who fled from the violence in their own country and settled in the Netherlands. In this way, we tell a universal story.’

Democratisation

This is just one of the stories the Drents Museum will soon be telling its visitors as part of the new presentation of the permanent collection. In it, the three core areas of the museum are represented: archaeology, art and history. With the new presentation, Tupan aims to democratise the Drents Museum: ‘We are making it into a family museum, while not compromising on its quality. We will make extensive use of contemporary media, but the museum object will remain central.’

Magnet

Tupan expects to attract 50,000 extra visitors by 2023 (after the corona crisis is over). ‘We already have become a powerful magnet for the city and the province, and will continue to be so. A study has shown that our visitors spend an average of 50 euros in Assen. That makes us an important economic force, which the city of Assen now acknowledges by contributing to the new exhibition, for example. Fortunately, we were able to secure the entire eight-million-euro funding required before the corona outbreak. The museum will be a gateway to the province as well. For instance, in the collection, you can examine objects dating back to the Funnel-Beaker Culture. From there, we refer visitors to the Hunebed centre [‘hunebeds’ are prehistoric passage graves built with enormous boulders] in Borger for further exploration.’