Investigate real works of art
This summer, the Rijksmuseum offers young visitors and their families a unique opportunity to investigate real works of art. Mission Masterpiece is the museum’s first family exhibition, where children can become science investigators. Together with the Rijksmuseum team, NorthernLight developed the concept for the exhibition. The final design was done by NorthernLight in close cooperation with Irma Boom office. The design transforms the Phillips Wing of the Rijksmuseum into a huge research lab, inspired by the Rijksmuseum’s renowned Atelier. The exhibition features six research labs, each devoted to a specific object for children to explore. They discover information about the diamonds on the crown worn by King William I of the Netherlands, check whether the porcelain statue of a macaw is still intact, and learn how to identify a Vermeer. The color scheme of each lab is carefully tailored to match the object being studied and is complemented by unique lighting, creating a captivating atmosphere. Additionally, enlarged blow-up images of the objects are displayed throughout the exhibition, enhancing the overall experience.
Be a real-life scientist
Mission Masterpiece invites young participants to take on the role of Rijksmuseum restorers and scientists. Step into the six research labs and apply the same methods and techniques used by the museum for its own research. Equipped with a lab coat and a research card, you can utilize UV and X-ray machines, microscopes, fiber analysis, and tree-ring data to identify textile fibers, pigments, watermarks, and dates. Challenge assumptions about the age and authenticity of the objects. Are they as old as believed? Are they genuine or clever forgeries?
What makes a masterpiece?
As well as inviting visitors to do their own investigations into materials, dates and production methods, Mission Masterpiece gets them to consider some of the questions Rijksmuseum researchers face every day. Questions like: What is it that makes an object a masterpiece? Was this art work really made by the artist who we think made it? If an object is forgery or broken, does it still deserve a place in the museum?
We would like to thank the Rijksmuseum team, Irma Boom Office and production company Brandwacht & Meijer for the inspiring cooperation on this challenging project. Mission Masterpiece runs from 1 July to 3 September 2023 in the Phillips Wing of the Rijksmuseum. Photos by Rijksmuseum and Olivier Middendorp.
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