“New” Business Models. You Said New?

From January 20 to 21, we atteneded Museum Connections Fair (formerly Museum Expression). Besides the trade show, it was possible to “train” oneself through conferences and workshops organized for arts professionals.

A conference has particularly caught our attention: “New Business Models for Museums”. It is clear that this question doesn’t only concern French professionals, as speakers were British and Dutch respectively – Bernardine BROCKER, Director, Vastari and Axel RÜGER, Director of the Van Gogh Museum.

We tried to identify for you the new practices (and innovative) and new business models (NBM) but at the end of the conference, our booty was unfortunately rather thin.

Vastari, the start-up


… Or how cuts can also bring out new practices and innovation?

Vastari is an online platform that connects private collectors and museums to facilitate temporary exhibition loans.

“With Vastari, collectors can safely and anonymously record their objects to an online platform that will be accessible only to verified and accredited museum curators. If a museum professional is interested in a specific item, they can message the owner through the Vastari messaging system. This ensures that personal details will be exchanged only when both parties feel comfortable. As a result, loan terms of agreement can be established. “

  • Innovation? Yes.
  • New business model? Meh. This is clearly a platform that failing to save money can save time.

The “gig” economy.

For Vastari CEO, more and more commissioners and curators work on independent projects. Vastari would also serve as a linking platform between experts and companies, foundations from the private sector.

  • Innovation? A little. This somewhat improved Linkedin has the merit to point out the weaknesses of the current system which seems to be difficult to have access to and barely understandable.
  • NBM? Yes cf. the Van Gogh Museum.

Sharing and pooling

« If the past decade was about communicating and sharing, the next decade is going to be about participating in the content. »

At the end of the presentation, one understands that good ideas and new practices are to be found at the side of startup like Meerkat.

Let’s keep on our pursuit of new practices with the director of the Van Gogh Museum, Alex Rüger

The business model of the VGM:

50% : Ticketing
25%: governemental subsidies
25%: merchandising and crowdfunding

Extra info:
85%: visitors come from abroad

This business model is vulnerable for two reasons: government funding crumbles and tourists numbers may be unstable (the case with the Parisians museums is a sad example).

What is the paths development chosen by VGM?

The high quality reproductions

VGM offers Van Gogh’s paintings reproductions which are a new generation of very high quality 3D. These are manufactured with a technology developed by Fujifilm and provide reproductions of the image and the texture of the paint surface. According to Alex Rüger, they are the logical next step in the history of paintings reproduction.


  • Innovation? This is definitely not obvious …
  • NBM? For art museums, this may be a new merchandising offer, but it is a niche market 🙂

The development of a consultancy firm.

Based on the expertise developed over the years by the VGM, museum professionals advise other existing arts structures and organizations as well as new museums on a panel of issues – collections management,  environmental sustainability, facilities management etc.

  • Innovation? Yes ! This is a much more comprehensive strategy that the “gig economy” above.
  • NBM? Yes.

Out of the box traveling exhibitions

The VGM will launch a “Van Gogh Experience” – a multi-sensory display, three-dimensional educational journey that will be represented in different parts of the world.


  • Innovation? Yes, it’s a way to meet world demand without paying for a collection.
  • NBM? Yes

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  1. “New” Business Models. You Said New...
    28 February 2016 at 20:26 Reply

    […] From January 20 to 21, we atteneded Museum Connections Fair (formerly Museum Expression). Besides the trade show, it was possible to  […]

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