Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

MAS Brussels

MAS a new interdisciplinary museum in Antwerp, Brussels. Source: CPA.

Creative Partnerships Australia, MAS on making and funding a new museum, Creative Partnerships Australia, 2016

Marieke van Bommel is the Director of MAS a new interdisciplinary museum in Antwerp, Brussels. Marieke was one of our favourite speakers at Culture Business Sydney conference back in March.

We caught up with Marieke post-conference to find out more about MAS’s incredible fundraising campaign and see what tidbits MAS could offer up for Australian organisations. 

Some of the key things that came out of your Culture Business presentation were the importance of making fundraising a priority from the very beginning, and not being afraid of commercial enterprise. Tell us a bit more about how these two things were integral to your fundraising campaign and the ongoing success of MAS.

MAS is a new museum that was built in 2011. The building itself is iconic and it attracts over 600,000 visitors annually. During the design phase there were four pavilions integrated into the design. The pavilions are situated next to the museum, the typical red nature stone acts as a binding ‘carpet’ between them. As we looked for founders the pavilions were used as revenue assets. All the founders who donated €600.000 were given the option to rent a pavilion for their own purpose (plus the costs of the refurbishment and a monthly rental-fee were added to the addition sponsor donation). Both Umicore and the Port Authority took up this offer. Umicore, as a large company specialised in the refining and recycling of precious metals, invited the closed Silver Museum to have small exhibitions in their pavilion. The Port Authority has a display and information centre about the Antwerp ports. KBC Bank declined the offer since they felt no need to have a small bank outlet next to the museum. The same went for two other founders SDWorx and HRcompany.

The two remaining pavilions were then offered to other sponsors with the same sponsorship arrangement. A book publisher took one pavilion for the museum shop and the other one was assigned to the Antwerp Diamond Centre as a promotional centre.

By building the pavilions and then specifically renting them out to major sponsors we gave room, on our museum site for our partners to promote their businesses. We also made extra arrangements, for example the publisher has first right to publish our museum catalogues and they are the only one allowed to sell merchandise from the museum.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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