Cartoon museum meeting 2012

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

Kids and cartooning: a role for museums 2012/05/12

Filed under: Connecting with the public,Uncategorized — Admin @ 8:44 am

This post was originaly published on the European Cartoon Center Blog. It’ s about the role that we, as a cartoon museum, think we have in bringing children in contact with cartoons.

We really wonder how you think about it?

Kids and cartooning

Kids and cartooning, it is not so evident. The humour we find in gag cartoons is often to difficult for children to understand. And drawing cartoons is even more difficult. Children under the age of 14 don’t have the maturity to create completely new funny ideas.

So what? Does that mean that we can not work with children about cartoons?

We think it is important to stimulate the curiosity of young children towards cartoon, arts in general and museums. Are these children not the cartoonists and cartoon lovers of tomorrow? Will a creative and talented youngster dream of a career as cartoonist if he or she never was in contact with the diversity in cartooning techniques and styles?

As the ECC we grab every opportunity to work with children:

1. For school children we did develop an educational program

2. We participate in activities as ‘kids take over day’ or national programs to stimulate children and families to visit museums (f.e krokuskriebels)

3. We organize workshops for children

Important in the choice and development of our activities are the following criteria:

1. School activities are focused on learning about cartoons and not on cartooning. This means that these activities must be fun, also for children who hate drawing. Through a variety of assignments that are discovered in small teams, children learn to appreciate cartoons and understand what a cartoon is

2. Drawing must be fun: it is not the result that counts, but the pleasure of drawing. Try, experiment and be creative.

3. The museum experience, the first contact with the ECC and cartoons are more important than the understanding of cartoons. We prefer children to enjoy themselves rather than acquire knowledge. We are convinced that the learning about cartoons is more sustainable through multiple experiences then by a ‘lecture’ about cartoons

4. Children can understand cartoons, no matter their age. Don’t try to explain what the cartoonist means by his cartoon, let the children surprise you with their own interpretations.

5. We try to develop activities/games that are fun for parents and teachers too. The shared experience enhances the effect

So if I summarize: it’s all about having fun!

Be aware for a great new generation of Belgian cartoonists, let’s say in 10 years.




What about cartoon fishing? 2012/02/03

The Collections Australia Network has been collection fishing on Twitter since 2 years, in The Netherlands collection fishing started in December 2011. And both are very succesfull.

It all started with an initiative of The Museum of Victoria in Australia. They wanted to show some wonderful hidden pieces in museums or in private collections. Each day a different organization organically comes up with a theme for the day. Participants fossick around online collections for related material.

The theme can be anything and is put to Twitter each morning with the hashtag #collectionfishing or #collectievissen in Dutch and the hashtag for the theme. Everyone (coworkers of the museum or audience) can search in all the online museum collections or in their own collection for a great picture, object of art, … that is related to the theme. They put a picture on Twitter using the same hastaghs.

So I am launching the idea of the introduction of ‘Cartoon Fishing’. Why shouldn’t we do the same with cartoons? Why shouldn’t we look for these rare pearls of cartoon art that are hidden in our collections of in private collections by using Twitter. But are all our collections digitalized? Is Twitter allready used all over the world? Perhaps we should try it anyway with a weekly or monthly subject and the hashtag #cartoonfishing

3 tips to make it work:

– Choose a cartoon that is surprising. Not the most evident choose. A real work that has to be seen. Surprise your public.

– Give some information (in max. 140 words) about the work and how it is related to the theme

– Ask others (collegues , cartoonists and your visitors) to participate

If you like this idea and you want to start the experiment with us, please contact


Crowdsourcing for cartoon museums? 2011/12/21

Filed under: Connecting with the public,Social Media,Theme — Admin @ 9:54 pm

Yesterday I attended a conference about Crowdsourcing organized by E-land Mechelen. As crowdsourcing fits well in the theme of our cartoon museum conference (‘connecting through cartoons’ in this case with the public) I like to share some information and personal reflections about what I heard yesterday.

But before we start: What is crowdsourcing?

Jeff Howe defined Crowdsourcing as: ‘ the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.’

So crowdsourcing for museums means that not the cartoon expert but the public will decide on what to exhibit in museums.

So back to the conference. The day started with an introduction from Clo Willaerts (@Bnox) to the social media based on examples in the cultural heritage and museum sector.  Did you know f.e. that YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google), so it could be interesting to use this medium to promote your activities. If you use social media in your museum you have to be aware of the 1% rule. It’s simple: 90% of social media users are passive. They read your content and that’s it. Only 1% of the users really create content (they write a message on your Facebookwall, upload images or write a blog article). So if you like to use the social media for crowdsourcing you have to communicate broad before you will get enough response.

Nico Wauters is not convinced of the use of social media to crowdsource. He believes in social media as excellent tools to communicate about your activities and brand your museum. But he doesn’t think it has any added value for curating exhibitions. I do like the idea of inviting ‘critical speakers’  to an event like this, although his arguments were not strong enough to convince me.

The most inspiring presentation of the day was the contribution of Jasper Visser (Nationaal  Historisch Museum of the Netherlands). He did some great experiments in his museum. What do you think about ‘Vending machines’ on public places: you can buy a gadget with explanation about its history and the most popular objects come into the exhibition? I like to refer also to an earlier post on this blog where you can see Visser in action at the Museum Next conference. Where most speakers did talk about the use of social media, Visser makes clear that crowdsourcing is not only about social media: ‘think beyond digital’ was one of the strongest quotes I heard that day.

When Jasper Visser tells us that museums are more than a building or a collection, I completely agree. And I think we all do, but how do we change the way we are working now? Perhaps Jan Seurinck (@janseurinck) gave an interesting tip about that: “think public, not collection!” As a museum or center we are too much busy with what we want.  We want to show those cartoons that we find relevant, we want to teach our cartoon history … that’s normal. But to reach the public we have to think about what the public really wants to see, wants to know, what they like…  We don’t exist for ourselves!

Kristof Michiels (@admkrm) talked about ‘networked transparent cultural heritage’. The public is a living archive and that’s why we need to engage with them. In his own museum (MHKA) he started the project MHKA Ensemble, a social network for artists and their works. For Michiels it is very important to make high quality virtual collections. It is not necessary to describe the whole collection, but to choose those works that are relevant to your public. The most important difficulty for museums is the copyright issue, especially for works that where made before the digital era.

“Why should museums use social media? It’s simple: you have to tell about what happens in your working field, if not others will do it in your place.” And so Jan Seurinck gave us a long list of do’s and do not’s  in the use of social media. One of the most important challenges is to bring together all places where people write about you. It is more useful to link all those places, than to add a ‘comment field’ to your site, says Seurinck. Another useful tip to all communication by social media: tell a story, tell the story behind the exhibition BUT don’t forget to talk also about others. ‘You don’t want to talk in a pub with someone who is always talking about himself, do you?’, was the metaphor he uses.

Then the organizers of the conference presented their own great crowdsourcing projects. An important lesson there was to work together with existing communities. Why creating your own community, when there is already a good community. Working together, that’s how I like it.

It was a very inspiring day, and I was a little bit dizzy of all those great ideas. I wonder how we can transform all these ideas into the cartoon world. Do you use crowdsourcing in your museum? Like to hear your best practices and hope we can reflect on this theme together in September.

Some interesting links:


How to connect with the community 2011/12/11

Filed under: Connecting with the public,Social Media,Theme — Admin @ 3:09 pm

On this video Jasper Visser from the Dutch Museum of National History gives us some insights about how the Museum of National History connects with all Dutch citizens. They don’t have a museum building, but bring Dutch History on a narrative way to the people.

This video inspired me to think about how we could bring cartoon art to the public. I hope it will inspire you too.


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