Berber Meindertsma at the Tropenmuseum

In the fall semester of 2012, I completed an 11-week internship at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, commuting twice weekly to contribute to the Project Team making the new Light Hall exhibition ‘Zwart & Wit’ (‘Black & White’), due to open in October 2013. This exhibition aims to give insight into how black and white people in the Netherlands have been living together since the abolishment of slavery in 1863. My work consisted of analyzing exhibition reports and attending Project meetings; of locating, ordering and screening multimedia material; and preparing the forms for paintings and objects to be loaned from external collections. These tasks, especially the meetings, gave me great insight into the process of making a temporary exhibition; of how exhibition content and design relate to each other. Making an exhibition involves much critical thinking and reflecting on exhibition ideas and reports. I also discovered the ‘machinery’ behind the museum. As I developed my internship into the case study for my bachelor research thesis on the notion of the museum as a public forum, I learned a great deal about the Tropenmuseum’s sense of social responsibility and its sensitive colonial history.

I particularly value my time at the Tropenmuseum as I learned how to act professionally and worked on tasks that truly mattered to the museum. My view on the exhibition was valuable to the Project group, and I venture to say that my presence and work for the exhibition made a change. The internship took place at a financially unstable time for the Tropenmuseum, which I experienced from close by. These practical skills and the experience gained are of great importance in the field of heritage and museum studies and cannot be taught within the walls of university.

Berber Meindertsma, Class of 2013, HUM Major

berber meindertsma 300x200