Cartoon museum meeting 2012

the 4th cartoon museum meeting will be held in Kruishoutem – Belgium

Original art or reproductions? 2012/09/18

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During the cartoon museum conference we had some interesting discussions about the question: ‘do museums have to show the original cartoons or can we use prints or even digital images in our cartoon museum?’

Today I read a blog post of Jasper Visser on the Future of Museums’ blog about this theme.

At this moment there is an exhibition about Van Gogh in Amsterdam, where not a single work in the exhibition is a real Van Gogh. Instead the exhibition shows reproductions restored to their original colors and some 3D works inspired by the paintings of Van Gogh.

The exhibition wants to tell a story: the story about Van Gogh’s life by his own words, a story about Van Gogh as an artist and the evolution in his work, a story about the work, materials, etc.

Perhaps reproductions can help us to better understand these stories.

Through 5 questions Jasper reflects on the challenges and opportunities of reproductions in the museum context.

You can read the post here.

Hope it inspires cartoon museums on their reflections about showing original cartoon art or reproductions.



Conclusions 2012/09/10

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The theme of this year conference was about ‘connecting through cartoons’. We did ask all cartoon museums to send us in advance their own success stories about ‘connecting’. You can read the stories on:

At the beginning of the conference we shared stories behind the objects that all participants did bring which were relevant to them and their museum.


The participants did dream together how the cartoon museum of 2025 should look like:

How did we achieve to win the prize of the ‘Museum of the decade’ in 2025:

  • By working together, sharing ideas and exhibitions and by being all one museum, working together
  • By bringing the collection to the people, people who can decide by themselves what they get to see in the museum
  • By making the museum a virtual museum, with every day a new curator and debates between cartoonists and the possibility to make 3D-prints, so that everyone can have an original cartoon in their own house
  • By making it a place where children learn about cartoons
  • By allowing the world to read the only remaining newspaper, one with cartoons only

The common elements in the dreams can be summarized in 5 topics:

  • Technology
  • Collaboration and cooperation
  • Participation/Interactivity and being closer to the public
  • Growth and expansion
  • Stability


For each topic actions were proposed by the group:

Technology – no physical borders

– sharing knowledge

– another way of presenting -> show more

– what with authorship, what is original/uniqueness

– makes copyright difficult

– exhibitions with parts of each museum to stimulate the visits

– increase democracy/peace

Collaboration/cooperation – universal language/improving communication

– exhibition exchange

– sharing our networks of artists and fans

– a hub for information

– unite to improve the social perception of the art form

– international cartoon art museum union

– provide a support network for artists / shared philosophy of rights of artists

– ongoing exchange of updates, news and ideas in cartoon museums of most important events

– residences and cartoon ambassadors

– start small

– reach out to other cartoon institutions

Participation/Interactivity/closer public Public/visitors:

– celebrity

– active role of public

– turning mill

– publishing


– personal presence

– educational role

– promoter

Other museums

– experience

– professionalism

– knowledge archive

– taking actions

– go over borders

Growth/expansion – perseverance and patience

– variety in program and workshops

– Action Jackson!

– superactive, interactive, playful website

– diversity in volunteers (background, age, places, …)

– aim or blame fame


The group decided on these most favorite actions:

  1. (Virtual) International Cartoon Museum Exhibition
  2. Cartoon Exhibition exchange
  3. Diversity in the museum teams (background, age, places ….)
  4. Active role of public/visitors
  5. Playful website

And which ideas and actions do we take back home to our own cartoon museums?

  • Virtual world cartoon museum gallery with rooms for each museum
  • Common platform
  • In situation of lack of money and space, a long term planning is necessary, also cooperation and contacts with others
  • Invite youth/students to participate
  • Curating by the public or other cartoonists
  • Digitalizing the collection (help from others), but live arts does have to stay!
  • Prove that we are one community
  • Dedicating a part of the museum to the collection of the museums (copies)
  • Organizing the same exhibition, at the same time in all museums
  • I will brief my colleagues in my museum in detail about the conference
  • Virtual exhibition salon
  • Cartoon Museum Day (3th of April, Atila Ozers birthday)
  • Exhibits in Toonseum about world cartoonists
  • Exchange program for cartoonists
  • Organizing own cartoon competition
  • Using social media as PR, as well as regular media
  • Museum as a professional advisor for your town/city
  • Use of each other’s archives
  • Screen in museum with information about the other museums

We already did agree to work about:

Exchange of Exhibitions

  • European Cartoon Center: Exhibition ‘Cartoons from Belgium’ – prize winning cartoonists (60 works)
  • Anadolu University: Exhibitions of Turkish cartoonists about different themes
  • Cartoon Museum of Warsaw ‘The ball is in the play’ (soccer) (200 works)
  • Atila Ozer Cartoon House: Virtual exhibition with work of Atila Ozer on the 3th of April
  • PortoCartoon: exhibitions on different themes

Collaboration on Exhibitions

  • European Cartoon Center: World War I remembrance in June 2014 (use of collection and simultaneous exhibition)
  • Israëli Cartoon Museum: Participation in new exhibition March 2013 – the Peace Pigeon
  • Toonseum: ‘how the world sees US’ – looking for works about the theme

Other projects

  • Fayoum Cartoon Museum of Egypt: residency for cartoonists (room and atelier)
  • European Cartoon Center: web pages on ECC’s website with calendar of activities of all cartoon museums
  • Anadolu University can use the museum archives for educational reasons
  • PortoCartoon: offering the platform for a virtual world cartoon museum gallery


Interactive Method of Mohamed Abla

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Mohamed Abla, of Fayoum Caricature Museum Egypt explained (and showed) us his interactive method of Mohamed Abla to draw with groups of people (who are not used to that).

There is a great YouTube video about it:

Thanks for sharing, Mohamed!


Guests in caricature by Philippe Bossens 2012/09/09

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Official reception at the town hall of Kruishoutem

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Interview with Niels Beugeling of the Press Museum of Amsterdam

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It’s the first time you participate in the cartoon museum conference. What’s your first impression?

I like it very much, I find it very special to bring people together. Especially because it is an international gathering. It’s nice to know what people in other countries do.

At the moment we are preparing an exhibition of Arabic cartoonists. So this meeting is very useful. I am working with political cartoons, others are busy in the field of gag cartoons. So due to this kinds of meetings, you discover that the difference between them is not so large.

It is also great to hear that some of the participants are thinking about the same evolutions, as we do in the Press Museum f.e. the virtual museum.

Why you are interested in the concept of the virtual museum?

In The Netherlands we have 27 important cartoonists (the Belgians ZAK and Kamagurka included). When I started the museum 10 years ago 75% of cartoons were handmade. Now there is only 1 cartoonist who is not working digital.

Can you imagine organizing the conference in Amsterdam?

That would be great.

Thinking of a specific theme?

I think you can’t have a better theme then ‘Connect though Cartoons’, but I’ll think about it.



And action …

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After creating our dreams, we planned some actions.

We did agree about these actions:

  • (Virtual) International Cartoon Exhibition with cartoons from all museums in all museums (website)
  • Cartoon exhibition exchange
  • The need of diversity in the cartoon museum team (background/age/…)
  • The active participation of visitors/public in the cartoon museum
  • Playful and interactive cartoon museum websites



Once upon a time

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 Cartoon directors and staff members from all over the world were in Kruishoutem, the little village of eggs.

They shared stories about the successes of their museums, first in groups of two, later with the others: empowering and educating children about cartoons by workshops, political correctness and interaction between the museum, visitors and cartoons are common elements in their stories.

After that, a big step in the future 2025 and they won the prize of ‘the international museum of the decade’. How did they reach this big achievement?

– By working together, sharing ideas and exhibitions and by being all one museum, working together.

– By bringing the collection to the people, people who can decide by themselves what they get to see in the museum

– By making the museum a virtual museum, with every day a new curator and debates between cartoonists and the possibility to make 3Dprints, so that everyone can have an original cartoon in their own house.

– By making it a place where children learn about cartoons

– By allowing the world to read the only remaining newspaper, one with cartoons only

OK this was a dream, but all good projects start with a dream


Conclusions by Sebastien

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To conclude this interesting conference we gathered our information and tried to make them as concrete as possible. We all know that it’s not always easy to act out what you talk about. On the one hand everybody agrees to digitalize the collections, so the idea of a huge virtual museum comes a bit closer. On the other hand it remains important to show live art to the public. One of the ideas was to have travelling national collections and make worldwide advertising (using social media). The national cartoon museum day was an idea that was supported by everyone (3th of April). Hence everybody emphasized the need of good exchange to promote this thing we all love the most: cartoons. I think most of us are going to take home some fresh ideas, which have gotten somehow more concrete, and of course some new or renewed friendships. One love.


Birthday speech of president Rudy in short

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5 years ago I was so proud that we finally could open the doors of the European Cartoon Center in my home town Kruishoutem. And still I had some doubts. Will it be possible to realize everything we have planned? Every 3 months new exhibitions, opening ceremonies, receiving visitors, groups, schools, the cleaning, … and all this only with volunteers, without finance of the government.

So today, I am not only proud, I am more than proud. We did it! The past 5 years we realized more than 40 exhibitions, our cartoon book collection tripled, we organized workshops and seminars for cartoonists, workshops for kids, …

Nice results that only could be achieved by the work of a fantastic team of volunteers. Thanks Jan, Véronique, Monique, Filip, Rita, Philippe, Ro, Herman, Anthony, Sebastien, Dominique, Paul, Fernand and Saskia for your amazing work and all those great moments.

And thanks to Jan Oplinus, the initiator of the ECC Cartoonbooksclub, he is a great ambassador for the ECC.

And we are still planning a lot of projects for the future: a permanent exhibition about the history of Belgian cartoons, the 19th edition of the Euro-kartoenale, some nice exhibitions next year. But all our dreams and plans can only be realized with the help of you all, the cartoonists, cartoon lovers and ‘Friends of the ECC’. So thanks for that!






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