Merel van der Vaart
PhD Candidate
University of Amsterdam / Allard Pierson Museum
the Netherlands

As an academic with a love for practical museum work, Merel van der Vaart aims to combine museum theory with real world problems. She is especially interested in the relationship between visitors, collections and museum staff, the process of meaning making during the museum visit, and the role of (digital) interpretation tools.

With over 10 years of experience in the cultural sector, she specializes in online/on-site audience engagement and informal learning. Merel is a PhD Candidate at the Amsterdam School of Heritage and Memory Studies at the University of Amsterdam and the Allard Pierson Museum, the University’s archaeology museum, in the Netherlands. As part of her research she explores the role of on gallery digital media as an intermediary between visitor, object and information, facilitating interaction, exploration and learning. Her research is part of the EU funded meSch project.

Previously, Merel worked on several co-creative museum projects as the Associate Curator of Public History at the Science Museum (London, UK) and was a Research Assistant for the LIVE!Museum research project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, at the Department of Museum Studies of the University of Leicester (UK).