Museum  January 28, 2020  Anna Claire Mauney

Storyworld: The New Museum Dedicated to Animation and Comics

© Stella Dekker

Storyworld, a new Dutch museum for comics, animation and games, opened its doors on January 11 with the aim to embody the crumbling division between fine art and visual storytelling.

“For the younger generations, it shows that this kind of art, the art they like and recognize, is worthwhile to show in a museum,” says Storyworlds’ director of marketing and programming, Hans Poll. “For the makers,” he adds, “it is important to be recognized as artists.”

With a collection that features international and Dutch creations, Storyworld takes visitors on a guided journey, exposing them to original artwork and the essential stages of various visual storytelling processes. 

The museum’s layout serves three primary functions: to showcase artwork, to engage visitors, and to feature stand-out creators in a temporary exhibition space.

© Stella Dekker

Storyboard from Aladdin showing Jafar

With Aladdin storyboards, the first character sketches of Shrek, and even a Shaun the Sheep zoetrope, the first section of Storyworld promises a unique yet blatantly artistic showcase of the story-making process. “Normally, the audience only sees the end product: the game, the movie or the comic book,” explains Poll. “By breaking the creative process in pieces,” the museum will provide insight into the scope of the creative process. The hope is to boost understanding and appreciation of this type of artwork.  

Through a variety of hands-on experiences, the second portion of Storyworld is designed to engage and transform visitors into storytellers—if only for the day. From choosing a story location to constructing your own game, the aim behind these particular features, according to Poll, “is to reach several generations and engage and educate the younger visitors.” Ultimately, Storyworld would like this aspect of the exhibition to provide young visitors with the tools and inspiration to enhance their 21st-century skills in a playful way.

© Stella Dekker

Shaun the Sheep figures

“The combination of interactives and authentic objects works very well,” says Poll. “It appeals to different generations and gives both the objects and the interactives better context.”

The last portion of the museum will run several exhibitions a year, each displaying the work of an individual, renowned maker. The first showcase, entitled The Art of Lois, features work by the internationally successful Dutch illustrator and character designer, Lois van Baarle, which runs through April 5. 

© Stella Dekker

Interactive exhibit at Storyworld

On the day of the grand opening, Hans Poll says he noticed two things. First that visitors found the combination of comics, games and animation so logical. This was a surprise because the particular combination has never been done before. 

Second, Poll says he was delighted to see that “kids wanted to stay longer than the parents.” That, he reflects, “is a good thing for an ‘art museum’.”

About the Author

Anna Claire Mauney

Anna Claire Mauney is the former managing editor for Art & Object. A writer and artist living in North Carolina, she is interested in illustration, the 18th-century, and viceregal South America. She is also the co-host of An Obsessive Nature, a podcast about writing and pop culture.

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