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April 2013: (report) The Dialogue with the Visitor, Alphen a/d Rijn (NL)

Monday, 22 April, 2013 to Friday, 26 April, 2013
Organised by: 
Wiel van der Mark
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
85 participants, 3,000 audience

Watch Promotion Video from OpenArch congres in Archeon 23-25 april 2013 from EXARC Net.

See Program

The OpenArch project started in 2011 with 11 partners and 5 work packages Archeon the Netherlands and Viminacium from Belgrade, Serbia are partners in WP 3.

The fifth OpenArch conference in Archeon, from 22-26 of April, was a success, the targets were achieved. The 11 partners in the EU-funded project attended lectures, participated in workshops and held meetings on the Dialogue with the Visitor, dealing with issues that are universal for Archaeological Open Air Museums (AOAM) throughout Europe and even the world. The conference also gave opportunities to meet professionals and like-minded individuals from diverse disciplines and organisations.

The programme was put together by Archeon in order to allow the participants a broad view of the Dialogue with the Visitor – a Work Package within the OpenArch project, coordinated by Archeon. Within this Work Package, the Story of the Site (the stories told in the AOAM) and the Visitor’s Experience (how the visitor experiences both these stories and his visit as a whole) have both been given a fair amount of attention already. This conference was intended to show to the partners in the project what the possibilities are, in order to foster further international dialogues in the coming years.

Day one: Lectures and workshops
Wim van der Weiden, Chairman of the European Museum Academy, started the conference with a lecture on Reaching the Unreachable – how to appeal to a broad audience that may not even know about the existence of AOAM. After this plenary lecture, the participants split up to attend lectures on museum theatre in world-famous museums such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum. Award-winning web designer talked about their projects and asked the question: “Do you really need a website to begin with?”
The first day saw lectures from game designers, who promoted the use of playfulness to promote education and learning. Using modern communication tools such as the ubiquitous smartphone, the visitor’s experience can be enhanced – though never replaced! A workshop on storytelling challenged the participants to go out and make a story with only a handful of tools.
The closing lecture by Janneke Kuysters, former director of the Efteling and Bataviawerf, was introduced by Bas Eenhoorn, mayor of Alphen a/d Rijn. Kuysters challenged her listeners to look at the way the AOAM measure their success and how to use this in the Dialogue with Stakeholders, such as local municipalities.

Day two: Working with Food
Another aspect of the OpenArch project is the Dialogue with Skills, which focuses on the use of historical skills and how to improve them. On the second day, there were several workshops and demonstrations of historical cooking and food preparation. In the afternoon, there were lectures both on these techniques and principles of historical cooking, as well as several archaeologists who spoke on (international) projects and their experiences in dealing with the challenges in presenting these projects to the public. To close the day off, the results of the day’s cooking were tasted by the participants, before heading off to sample the latest expositions in the Dutch museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden.

The third and last day
The theme for this last day was storytelling. Workshops to practise different theatre techniques were coupled with lectures on education and entertainment. The message was clear: to tell a story, most of all you need to know who you are telling it to. The bi-annual meeting of all the partners in the OpenArch project closed off a very successful conference which had something for everyone. OpenArch is now at full steam and the cooperation between partners is improving with each step. These conference confirm that, but also show the added value of meeting professionals on a national and international level. The contacts made during this conference promise to develop into new activities and additional projects in future.


Monday 22 April
Arrivals and Welcome dinner

Tuesday 23 April -  Day 1
Dialogue with the Visitor

9:30Jack Veldman, director of Archeon Welcome and introduction of Archeon
9:45Wim van der Weiden Chairman of the European Museum Academy, former museum director of Museon, Naturalis, Anno. Reaching the Unreachable – dialogue with visitors-to-be
Watch Video 1 and Video 2
10:45Yvonne Kuhfus is actrice, writer, art director for Rijksmuseum, van Gogh museum, Singer museum, Wallraf-Richartz Museum.
Theatre for children in the museum - Watch Video
Gunter Schöbel is director of the Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen , and president of the board of EXAR. Experimental Archaeology and the Dialogue with the Visitor
11:45 Paul Stork is partner at Fabrique, a multi-disciplinary bureau focusing on strategy, branding, visual identity and interactive media. Fabrique is responsible for websites such as,,, en Websites and the Dialogue with the visitor: case studies of various museumsRuben Smit is a lecturer at the Reinwardt Academy of Cultural Heritage, Amsterdam: museum learning, interpretation, exhibiting and theoretical museology/heritage studies. The Visitors Experience and museum learning
Watch Video 1 and Video 2
12:30Plenary discussion on the morning lectures
13:00Lunch and tour of Archeon (optional at 13:30)
14:15lecture and workshop
Annemarie Pothaar has worked for a national park, historical museums, archaeological open-air museums and the Dutch Royal Armouries.  Workshop on Dialogue with the visitor: theory and practice
Don Blaauw is director of studio NoMoreMondays, which develops interactive concepts and creations for mobile users and interactives in museums. A playful dialogue with the mobile visitor
 14:45 - 15:00 coffee
 Hanne Marckmann is advertising and new media expert and is an educator and researcher at the Utrecht School of the Arts, focusing on learning through play. The playful dialogue - Watch Video 1 and Video 2
15:45Welcome by Bas Eenhoorn Mayor of the City of Alphen aan den Rijn former castellum at the Roman Limes
16:00Janneke Kuysters
Senior Advisor for Resultants. Former sales director of Efteling, Bataviawerf. Economic and social relevance of heritage sites
17:00Free time
19:00Reception in Medieval Monastery
20:00Medieval Dinner

Wednesday 24 April  - Day 2
Dialogue with Skills

9:30Welcome and introduction to the second day: concept of The Future of Food
9:45Jaap Hogendoorn is Archeon
employee since 1997 and currently is the head of historical building reconstructions and art
director of historical theatre in Archeon. The how and why of historical shows and theatre 
Food workshops in Archeon
(the whole morning)
Cooking in different time periods:
- Mesolithic cooking with hot stones
- Bronze Age soup, bread, stew, beer
- Roman Age snacks
- Medieval breadmaking, beer-brewing, preparing a meal
10:30 Coffee
10:45 Yohan Creemers is chairman of the board at IxDA Nederland, partner at Ylab. Routing, Wayfinding and the visitors experience
12:30Lunch in the Monastary
13:00Mark Driessen is lecturer and researcher of Archaeology, Leiden University. Petra and Udhruh, local heritage and the Dialogue with the visitorRüdiger Kelm is director of the Archaeological-Ecological Museum Albersdorf. Food, drink and culinary practices in ancient times - Watch Video
13:45Monica van den Dries is lecturer and researcher of Archaeology (heritage management), Leiden University. Speaking on a new project in Palestine - Watch VideoAlan Outram is Head of Archaeology at Exeter University. Food and fat in prehistory: some examples from experimental archaeology
14:30Boudewijn Goudswaard is director of Missing Link. The Visitors Experience: case study of the Betuwelijn Archaeological digBill Schindler is an associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland Interpreting Prehistoric Foodways to the Public: An Opportunity and Responsibility - Watch Video 1, Video 2 and Video 3
15:30Food tasting in the Medieval Cloister garden
16:30Bus leaves for Leiden for the evening programme
17:15A visit to the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities
(Rijksmuseum van Oudheden – RMO), including a exclusive preview of their upcoming expositions.
19:00Boat trip through the Medieval city centre (OpenArch members only)
19:45Bus leaves for Archeon
20:30Dinner and evening programme

Thursday 25 April - Day 3
Dialogue with the Visitor

9:30Welcome and introduction 3rd day
9:45Peter Jongste is project manager, senior consultant and senior archaeologist with Hazenberg Archaeology. Presenting with Leo Wolterbeek, founder of Woud & Beek, specializing in historical architectural reconstructions. Involving the visitor in the reconstruction of a Bronze Age farmhouse. -
- Watch Video
Including a visit to the reconstruction in Archeon
11:00David Richardson
trained from 1986 till 1988 with Southampton Archaeology Unit. He started Legio Secundo Augusta a Roman Living History Society" initially taking part in events for English Heritage - National Trust - Museum Services in1987.
David introduced Living History into schools. He began film works supplying props, sets, extras
& costume to the - BBC - History Channel - National Geographic - Time Team etc.
“For” and "Against" presenting in the "first person” OR To be or not to be ….
Dorothee Olthof is on the board of the Dutch Society for Experimental Archaeology and Education (VAEE), and co-founder of PRAE Visitors experience, engaging and entertaining the public
Lieke Visser is coordinator of the prehistoric section of Archeon Activating the public through story and activity - Watch Video
12:00Lunch in the monastery
12:30Workshop12:30 - 15:30
OpenArch Steering Committee Meeting
 Bastiaan Smit works as a storyteller and actor for Stadsavonturen and others. Telling the story, how to create an experience
16:00EXARC Annual General Meeting (AGM)Free time for those not attending the EXARC AGM, time to visit the park
18:00Bus to Archeon from the hotel
20:00Roman Dinner
Traditional Roman party

Friday 26 April - Departure Day


Picture made by Gunter Schöbel
Picture made by Gunter Schöbel
Routing and wayfinding with Yohan Creemers...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Presentation in Archeon - Photo by Hans...
Lunch in Medieval monestary - Photo by Hans...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Tasting food from different ages in the...
Speech by Bas Eenhoorn, Mayor of Alphen aan...