Saturday 24 October 2020

Museum of Bags and Purses is first museum to close for good

Photo: Bert Knottenbeld via Wikimedia Commons

Amsterdam’s museum of Bags and Purses is closing its doors for good, citing financial problems caused by the coronavirus crisis.

‘All options to keep the museum open haven been investigated by the supervisory board but not enough sponsoring and subsidies can be found to keep the museum open in the long term,’ the museum said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Tassenmuseum opened its doors in 2007 in the plush surroundings of the 17th century former mayoral residence at Herengracht 573 and housed some 4,500 bags both old and modern. The collection started with a tortoise shell bag found in England by antiques dealer Hendrikje Ivo.

Over half a million people have visited the museum over the last 13 years and many  Dutch and international designers were given a chance to show their work there.

The museum, which is an independent foundation, said efforts will be made to keep the collection intact but no plans have been put forward as yet to find another home for it. In total, 32 people, including a number of freelancers, will be out of a job because of the closure.

‘I am very sad to have to close the doors of this very special house, this beautiful museum. I and my team were exploring the importance of bags for identity, fashion, workmanship and society but reality caught up with us,’ director Manon Schaap said.

The Tassenmuseum is the first museum to announce its closure because of the coronavirus crisis. The Dutch museum association recently said that the consequences of the crisis are pushing small and medium-sized museums in particular into the danger zone and warned that as many as 100 out of 400 museums might close for good before the end of the year.

Most museums will be closed until at least June 1.

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