Tess, David Vroom
Press release:

New milestone in Tropenmuseum revamp

Things That Matter

A new exhibition about important things and the importance of things opening at the Tropenmuseum.

Things That Matter is a new exhibition opening at the Tropenmuseum on July 13 about important things and the importance of things, centred on the museum’s own collection. In films and audio fragments people talk about items of personal significance to them. At the same time, these objects are closely related to the major social issues of today, such as migration and origin. What items do people take with them when they flee their homes to retain a feeling of belonging? And how is pride in one’s roots reflected through dress? Questions such as these conduct visitors through the exhibition and challenge them to reflect on what these objects mean to them.

The objects in Things That Matter come from all over the world and incorporate stories that are equally meaningful in the Dutch context. An example is a woven basket from the Marshall Islands. In the accompanying video Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner relates in the form of a poem why this object is of such importance to her culture and how this culture is on the verge of disappearing: rising sea levels will result in her island being the first to sink below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The basket on display threatens to become the last tangible remnant of her culture, prompting visitors to the exhibition to reflect on climate change, sustainability and the significance of cultural heritage.

The opening of Things That Matter represents a fresh milestone in the refurbishment of the Tropenmuseum, which abandons the presentation of the collection along national and regional lines in favour of universal themes that unite people worldwide. Things That Matter embraces ten themes ranging from festivals to climate change, divided over ten different pavilions that offer centre stage to people’s personal stories about the things that matter to them and the museum’s own collection. In 2021 this exhibition will be augmented by a new presentation on the first floor about the colonial past and what its heritage means today.  Previous refurbishment includes modernisation of the entrance area, restoration of the monumental atrium to its former glory and the creation of more space to accommodate major temporary exhibitions.

The Things That Matter exhibition is slated to run for five to seven years and has been realised with the aid of the BankGiro Loterij