Sharing the personal art experience: A family visit to Kunstmuseum Den Haag

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This report describes the process of designing a shared family experience for Kunstmuseum Den Haag that encourages visitors to explore and discuss the personal art experience together.

Kunstmuseum Den Haag is an art museum with a large variation of art pieces. They would like to see more families visiting the museum.
Their vision is ‘Getting closer to art’, meaning they wish to offer visitors a personal connection with art.

The personal art experience is anything someone thinks, feels or perceives about art that is unique to that person. It is interesting to help families explore and discuss this experience, because children might have trouble identifying them and have trouble putting them into words. In turn, adults might underestimate their children and never try, or they don’t know how to talk about it.
By discussing the experience, you can not only learn about art, but more about yourself and your family members as well.

To have a shared experience that successfully enhanced the personal experience, it is important that all family members are equally engaged. During this project, I identified four design principles of creating engagement in museums and four ways towards enhancing the personal art experience.

The four ways to engagement are:
- Role-play and autonomy
- Anticipation and reward
- Appropriate novelty and challenge
- Facilitation of varied energy levels

The four ways to enhancing the personal experience are:
- Pushing and challenging behaviour
- Novelty and weirdness
- Asking the right questions
- Relatability to one’s own life

The final product consists of six role-booklets that each use different questions and exercises to explore and discuss the personal art experience. With the roles, one can move, be creative, search for details, experiment physically, fantasize, fabricate, change, feel and share opinions. Every player answers one question per artwork.
Additional to these booklets, there is the wayfinding board. The wayfinding boards helps with choosing an artwork to explore and discuss with your family. The family is still in charge of choosing their own artworks, but they are challenged to choose art they might otherwise not. It also makes for variation in activities during the interaction.
With this game, families are able to direct their own visit, but be supported in their journey toward a more personal experience.