A blog post by Laura Moore
MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, University of Manchester

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The Amsterdam Museum describes itself as a meeting place for anyone who wants to learn more about the city. It has four exhibitions, one of which is the Amsterdam DNA exhibit. It gives you an overview of the history of the city based on the four core values of entrepreneurship, free thinking, citizenship and creativity. The audio guide allows you to listen to and watch short videos around the gallery about the history of Amsterdam and gives you the opportunity to use the audio guide to take quizzes throughout the exhibition to determine your very own Amsterdam DNA based on the aforementioned values.

Whilst some academics may argue that the design of interactives is always targeted at a solitary user and therefore won’t support a social visiting experience (Heath and Vom Lehn 2010) the Amsterdam Museum uses their interactives to encourage conversation engaged with the subject matter. The videos around the exhibit are short and include a journey into the objects around the gallery, encouraging visitors to seek them out and discuss with one another what they have seen in the videos.

The Amsterdam DNA section goes even further than just being an audio guide that includes a few videos, as it creates a relationship between the visitor, the museum, and Amsterdam as a city. When you take the quizzes throughout the gallery you become increasingly invested in what your Amsterdam DNA is compared to the people with whom you’re visiting and it becomes a frequent topic of discussion. Although this section is mainly marketed towards families with young children it definitely encourages engagement with the museum and the history of Amsterdam no matter what your age!

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