Opening Multisensory Museum Space

On Thursday, February 28, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (NL) will open the multisensory museum space that has been created in collaboration with Research[x]Design. On the occasion of this opening, Van Abbe organizes a symposium to present the results of the research.

Opening symposium
What would the museum look like if it had been designed from all senses? Would it change our perception on art? How can we make inclusive and more accessible spaces? What can we learn from people with disabilities in understanding spaces?  

In 2016 the Van Abbemuseum started to research, rethink and redesign the museumspace from a multisensory and inclusive perspective, together with architects Peter-Willem Vermeersch and Tomas Dirrix, KU Leuven and in co-design with experiential experts with a visual, auditory or mobile disability.

On Thursday 28 February we will open the experimental multisensory museum space in the Van Abbemuseum and present the results of the research in a sensory stimulating opening symposium. We will also present our Special Guests publication. The symposium will be in English.


  • architects Peter-Willem Vermeersch en Tomas Dirrix  | ‘A multi-sensory design approach in architecture’.
  • blind and multisensory architect Carlos Mourão from Lisbon | ‘Museums in Invisibility: Towards inclusive and multisensory spaces’.
  • fragrance historian Caro Verbeek and Jorg Hempenius | ‘Inhaling Art – Scent as a Tool to Enhance the Museum Experience’.
  • blind designer Simon Dogger about his touch landscape he made of the artwork of Andrzej Wróblewski and he will present the indoor navigation system for blind audiences in the museum.
  • more to be announced

PROGRAM Thursday 28 February

10.00 | welcome with coffe and tea in museumcafé
11.00 | start program in auditorium
13.00 | lunch
14.00 | program part 2
15.00 | coffee break
15.30 | program part 3 and presentation publication
16.30 | drinks in museumcafé
17.30 | end

Buy tickets online € 15,-  Limited spaces. The reservation includes lunch.

The museum from a wheelchair perspective: link to video
Listening to the museum when you are deaf or hard of hearing : link to video
Learning to see from a blind perspective: link to video
Designing from all senses : interview with the architects : link to video

The Multisensory Museum is an important step in the developments towards an inclusive museum that the Van Abbemuseum started in 2014 with the Special Guests program. With this program we wanted to make the museum accessible to visitors with a visual, auditory, mobile or mental disability. O.a. together with blind and visually impaired visitors, special multi-sensory tours and tools were developed. In 2016 we made an exhibition with blind and visually impaired artists where these artists provided the guided tours themselves, we launched the annual RAAK Stimuleringsprijs in collaboration with the Oogfonds and Dedicon to encourage other museums to make their collections more accessible for people with a visual handicap, and we shared our knowledge and experience worldwide with other museums through training, advice and presentations. Together with KU Leuven, two architects and experiential experts, we started a re-design the multi-sensory museum in 2016. In doing so, we examined the possibility of not only making our programs and mediation more accessible and inclusive, but unlocked a new approach in understanding our museum building from a sensory perspective and learn from the expertise of people with disabilities.

The Multi Sensory Museum research project was made possible by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, projectmanager and curator Marleen Hartjes and in co-design with Amber van Ginneken, Pia Hendriks, Johan Nefkens, Barbara Strating, Judith Schuitvlot, Jaap Breider, Frank Ter Beek, Jeroen van Dijk, Rieky Verwimp.


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