The Van Gogh Museum has found a way to raise new funds: an offer of consultancy services for collectors. This original initiative should allow the institution to make up for the loss of various public subsidies.
The institution’s offer of consulting services for conservation and museum management targets companies, other public institutions, but also private collections. Finding new funds is a constant challenge for museums, especially in the current economic context. While museums are used to sharing their collections and knowledge about these collections, the commercial use of this wealth is still a taboo in this milieu. The new service, stemming from a pilot project initiated two years ago, aims at having museum staff spend 5 to 10 % of their working time offering these new services, namely for educational programmes. If demand is high, then jobs will be created. Adriaan Dönszelmann, managing director at the Van Gogh Museum sees no ethical problems in this development, but instead, a way to offer advice on the art market to collectors whose acquisitions can potentially be shown in museums. Another example of a public/private partnership, this time initiated by the public sector.
The new financing model arises at just the right time to compensate for the decline in public funding going to the museum (-€7 million per year), in other words 20% of the museum’s total budget.