Museum Mind creates engaging exhibition concepts for museums and visitor centers, using a multi-disciplinary approach. We distinguish ourselves by combining museology and design expertise. Content and space, as well as visitors’ needs and expectations, are considered key elements in the development of provoking exhibition narratives, designs and media. Moreover, our passion is to make people museum minded!

Museum Mind has extensive experience in museum and exhibition development processes as well as interpretive planning, working with both Dutch and international partners. We put our heart and soul into the work, but never forget to think, reflect and plan. Our approach is characterised by sustainability, reciprocity, and transparency; principles that we consider crucial especially when working in a cross-cultural setting.


Museum consultancy

New semi-permanent display
Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen


The Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen brings stories of the people who once lived on the shores of the Zuiderzee to life. In February 2020, a new semi-permanent display will open in the Indoor Museum. The exhibition will present the highlights of the museum’s collection, clustered in themes such as Water, Work, and Living, enriched with stories, and hands-on and interactive media. On request of the museum, Museum Mind offered consultancy on the concept and design of the new exhibition, focussing on issues such as the storyline, the point of view and the general accessibility.

Permanent exhibition

Museum of Humanity


spatial design

On 23 March 2019 the Museum of Humanity opened, an initiative by photographer Ruben Timman. Believing that every person is worthy of being portrayed with dignity, Ruben has portrayed thousands of people worldwide, since the past 15 years. In the museum, a selection of his portraits is on display: a narrative environment that speaks of man as the ‘crown of creation’. Museum Mind is honoured to as a consultant for the spatial design of the exhibition.
The Museum of Humanity is located at the Hembrug, a former military terrain and industrial heritage site that has evolved into a creative hub. More info

Interpretive planning at Galle Fort
Galle Heritage Foundation, Sri Lanka


capacity building workshops & consultancy

On request of the Netherlands Embassy in Colombo, Museum Mind delivered workshops and consultancy on interpretive museum development at Fort Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project’s focus is on interpretive planning at the historic ramparts and dungeons, the development of a visitor center and new museum galleries. About 25 heritage professionals and stakeholders from Galle participated in the workshops. This project is carried out in partnership with TiMe Amsterdam (Max Meijer).

Photos: Paul Ariese

Permanent exhibition

The State Bible, past and present
Reformed Bible Society, Leerdam


concept & design

The State Bible was the first translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages into Dutch. First published in 1637, the State Bible had a large influence on Dutch Protestantism, but also on language and culture in the Low Countries. At the heart of the exhibition are various editions of the State Bible and its predecessors, dating from 1477 to the present day.
The exhibition was conceptualized and designed in collaboration with Archetypisch (Anika Ohlerich).

Photos: (1) Anika Ohlerich; (2) Christa van Dijk; (3) Paul Ariese

Travelling exhibition

A boundless conflict, 1930-1955

On behalf of Perspekt Studio’s, 2015

concept & content management

‘A boundless conflict’ takes the visitor on a journey around and during the Second World War – across the globe and through time. Decisive world events, dynamic maps and personal stories are intertwined in a striking interactive presentation. The project is an initiative of Perspekt (concept, design and project management), NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (content) and Kiss the Frog (concept and interactive design). So far, Airborne Museum, Central Library The Hague, Dutch Navy Museum, Overloon War Museum, and Kamp Vught have hosted the presentation.

Photos: DigiDaan

Master thesis

A meeting of minds. Rethinking museum development in the context of Dutch-Indonesian relations


My masters dissertation A meeting of minds? Rethinking museum development in the context of Dutch-Indonesian relations reflects on changes in the relationships of Tropenmuseum and National Museum of Ethnology with the Indonesian museum field. Starting in the colonial era and continuing to the present day, the study links the Dutch involvement in Indonesian museums with museological developments in the Indies itself and the changing museological representation of the Indies in The Netherlands.

The thesis is awarded with the Collections Trust’s Prize for best dissertation from the University of Leicester, MA Museum Studies in 2013.

Photo: Group discussion about a Nias warrior display, ‘Sumatra’ gallery, Indies Museum, 1945-1949 (Tropenmuseum, 60059385)

Permanent exhibition

Journey around the Zuiderzee
Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen

On behalf of Perspekt Studio’s, 2012

concept & design

Journey around the Zuiderzee is a lively family exhibition at the Zuiderzeemuseum’s indoor museum, developed while working at Perspekt in cooperation with museum staff. The exhibition shows the top pieces of the museum’s collection, linked with personal stories and interactive exhibits about life in the Zuiderzee region. In this highly appreciated exhibition, visitors discover the similarities and differences in traditions, dialects, regional wear and the various crafts and trades of the Zuiderzee cities and villages. Can’t wait to go there? Then have a look via Google Streetview!

Photos: Erik & Petra Hesmerg

Museum consultancy
Four Corners Cultural Program, Haydom, Tanzania


consultancy, concept & design

4CCP is both a community empowerment project and a cultural tourism enterprise. The Culture Center aims to create an environment where development is based firmly in the cultural identity of the four language groups that live in Haydom region, northwest Tanzania. The exhibition, developed in close cooperation with representatives from these groups, shows how the indigenous people express their identity in (im)material culture, and brings to light how culture is impacted by modernity.

Photos: Paul Ariese

Museum development
National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya


consultancy, concept & design

Development of exhibition concepts and designs for National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi, in the context of the EU funded ‘National Museum of Kenya Support Program’. The program, that aimed at a complete makeover of the museum, was carried out under responsibility of the Royal Tropical Institute / Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. In cooperation with museum staff we developed concepts and preliminary designs for twelve different museum galleries.

Photos: NMK

Africa Gallery
Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam


Working as exhibition maker at the Tropenmuseum meant being responsible for exhibition concepts, film and multimedia productions, exhibition texts, and exhibition policy development. Main project in this period was the renewal of the ‘Africa’-gallery. The gallery presented highlights from the Tropenmuseum’s Africa collection. The exhibition, which displayed a mix of contemporary and historic objects, stressed the creative power and vitality of sub-Saharan Africa.
Exhibition design by Architectenbureau Jowa.

Photos: (1) en (3) TM; (2) Paul Ariese

Permanent exhibition

Queen Arwa Museum, Jibla, Yemen


consultancy, concept & design

Jibla is the ancient capital of the south-western Yemeni highlands. The town and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List (2002). During a two-month stay in Yemen, a permanent exhibition on the famous Jibla Hospital was developed and realized at the local Queen Arwa Museum. This exhibition paid a tribute to the local and international hospital staff, which for decades worked closely together to serve the wellbeing of the people in the region. The initiative to realize the exhibition followed after the shooting of three American hospital workers in 2003.

Photos: Paul Ariese

To make a long story short

Museum of Humanity opening soon

On 23 March 2019, the Museum of Humanity will open in Zaandam. The museum is initiated by photographer Ruben Timman. Believing that every person is worthy of being portrayed with dignity, Ruben has portrayed thousands of people since the past 15 years. In the museum, a selection of his portraits will be on display as part of a narrative environment that speaks of man as the ‘crown of creation’. Museum Mind is honoured to as a consultant for the spatial design of the exhibition.
The Museum of Humanity is located at the Hembrug, a former military terrain and industrial heritage site that has evolved into a creative hub.

For more info, visit

ICOMOS-lecture 14 March 2018

The ICOMOS-lecture of 14 Maart 2018 focuses on Dutch forts in Sri Lanka. In this context, Paul Ariese (Museum Mind) and Max Meijer (TiMe Amsterdam) are requested to present the interpretive planning & design project at Galle Fort, that is being developed in cooperation with the Galle Heritage Foundation. On this occasion, Uditha Jinadasa will present the short movie ‘Another Story of Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage City’, which she made in the context of her PhD Research at Leiden University.

The lecture starts at 19.30 at DutchCulture, Herengracht 474 in Amsterdam. The official invitation can be read via this link.

Revisiting Sri Lanka

Museum Mind and TiMe Amsterdam revisited Sri Lanka from 11-15 December. This visit served two purposes. In the first place we took part in the Living Heritage Seminar, which was held on 13-14 December in Colombo. The seminar – as one can read in the previous blog post – focused on the role of heritage in the contemporary city. Furthermore we had meetings with the Dutch Ambassador and with the Galle Heritage Foundation, regarding the follow-up phase of our interpretive planning and design project at Galle Fort. We aim to realise the first set of presentations by the end of 2018. In the course of 2018 we will visit Sri Lanka twice more.

Read more on Living Heritage in the Daily FT –

Museum Mind at Living Heritage Seminar

On 14 December 2017 Museum Mind will be speaking at the Living Heritage Seminar in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The seminar is organised by the European Union, together with the Embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany and the British Council. These parties work with Sri Lankan activists and architects to promote the value of the heritage of Colombo and other sites in the country.

During the Living Heritage seminar, internationally renowned experts from Europe and neighbouring countries will share their experiences of how best to promote heritage conservation, involve authorities, local businesses and communities in city planning, and maximise the value of Colombo’s many traditions to attract tourists and investment.

The title of the lecture I will present together with Max Meijer (TiMe Amsterdam) is Developing Heritage, or the Quest for the Narrative Thread. We focus on heritage ‘building’ as a dynamic process and reflect on narratives as the backbone for interpretive planning at Galle Fort.

More information on the program and other speakers is available via this link.


Visiting critic at Rietveld Academy

In October 2017, Museum Mind is ‘visiting critic’ at the Rietveld Academy, department of Architectural Design. Following the tradition of the 16th century Wunderkammers, second year students conceptualize and design a cabinet of curiosities, as a reflection of their own worldview and fascinations, filled with what they consider as a unique and precious collection of Naturalia, Artificilia and Mirabilia.

In the assignment, students face questions of collecting, classifying, preserving and exhibiting. Focus is on the development of a meaningful relationship between the collections, the space and the visitor. A great opportunity to share our passion for museology and design!

Photo: Theatrum Mundi, Arezzo, Italy (Baciocchi Associati)



Museum Mind is founded by exhibition maker Paul Ariese. He is a graduate of the renowned University of Leicester School of Museum Studies (MA with distinction), and was also trained as architectural and graphic designer. Since 1997, Ariese worked on numerous projects for museums, visitor centers and heritage institutions all over the Netherlands, next to museum projects and capacity building programs in Africa and Asia (e.g. Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka).

Previously, Ariese worked as designer at Architectenbureau Jowa (1998-2004), and as exhibition maker at the Tropenmuseum (2004-2006) and Perspekt Studio’s (2005-2015). In 2015, Ariese was appointed lecturer Exhibition Development at Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts. Next to bachelor and master teaching he is involved in training programs in China, Indonesia and Russia.


Museum Mind is located in the Amsterdam urban region, and always willing to cross borders for the next challenging project. Over the years, Museum Mind has developed an extensive network in the museum field. Being multidisciplinary ourselves, we love to work together with other professionals to make the best of our projects. As we consider dialogue the key to success, we look forward to get in touch with you!

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