Annie M.G. Schmidt's Bold and Brassy Kids
''England has Roald Dahl, Sweden has Astrid Lindgren and the Netherlands has Annie M.G. Schmidt,'' says Children's Book Museum Director Aad Meinderts. Almost everyone in the Netherlands grew up reading about Annie M.G. Schmidt’s bold and brassy kids. This colourful cast of characters has provided the perfect inspiration for the Children’s Book Museum’s interactive exhibition. The permanent exhibition "Annie M.G. Schmidt’s Bold and Brassy Kids’’ celebrates the anniversary of 25 years of Children's Book Museum.

Annie M.G. Schmidt’s Bold and Brassy Kids gives visitors the chance to experience a weird and wonderful adventure in the rebellious world of Annie M.G. Schmidt, the queen of Dutch children’s literature. There are all kinds of things to see and do. Step into Abel’s lift for a thrilling journey, create a cat vlog with Minou, build the most beautiful poems on the Poem Building Site or listen to Schmidt’s greatest hits on Annie FM.

Interactive playing with an oeuvre
The exhibition is a tribute to the Dutch writer Annie M.G. Schmidt and the various illustrators she worked with. It is an overview of her oeuvre and a meeting place for young and old to have fun together, as we all grew up with these characters. The underlying objective for visitors taking part in this interactive experience is to find out which of these characters matches their own personality the best. Since the museum is located in the Hague, they decided to make the exhibition available in both Dutch and English.

Creative technology
When entering the exhibition, visitors sign up with their ‘slurper’ for a personalised Annie M.G. Schmidt exhibition. The slurper is an RFID-wristband, that is used across all the different exhibitions of the museum. Children use the slurper to store results from the exhibition to a personalised website. It is also used to record their progress on their ‘Eigenwijsbewijs’ tracker (their proof of stubbornness). Visitors play each of the interactive media in the exhibition to find out which character matches them best.

Sing-along with Annie FM: Inside the ‘bus of Tos’, the most beautiful Schmidt songs can be heard by tuning into Annie FM. Visitors choose their favourite song and can sing along, as the words appear in the radio dashboard, karaoke-style.
Scrumple’s word mixer: Visitors drag virtual cans of soup into a physical mixer. Children learn more about spelling in an interactive and playful way. Alphabet soup splashes onto the wall, spelling out words. These words must be dragged back into the mixer in order to answer questions, before the soup explodes.
Abel’s lift: Visitors step into the lift of Abeltje to find which Annie M. G. Schmidt character they resemble the most. Six key questions will help them find out the answer. The elevator floor contains a visual display. The floor moves and it looks like you are flying up out of the museum at high speed. The building is getting smaller and smaller until visitors find their character.
Create a vlog with Minou: Visitors can take on the role of a vlogging cat and tell Minou about who and what they have experienced in a period of 15 seconds. The vlog they create can be saved and shared via Digital Souvenirs. Digital Souvenirs is an online platform with personalised memories that visitors care about and love to receive after their visit. The created digital souvenirs are delivered to each visitor on a personalised website and can be shared via different social channels. This increases the online visibility of the museum.
Petteflet Bingo: By tapping the windows, visitors find out which characters live in the ‘Petteflet’: an apartment building. They can also play the Petteflet bingo, where children need to find all the right characters for their own bingo card. The set-up contains multiple touchscreens. Children can tap the screen to find out if their character is home or not. Each character has its own animation. When all the characters are found, they have bingo!
Poem Building Site: The most innovative and unique interactive exhibit in this exhibition is the Poem Building Site. Visitors build poems using a set of words, which are printed on wooden boards. They scan their ‘slurper’ to hear their poem read out to them. Their poem is read out using AI-image recognition combined with text-to-speech technology. Both Dutch and English words can be mixed together. The exhibit has proven to be successful, since children play it over and over again.

Visitor record
For the fifth year in a row, the Children's Book Museum attracted a record number of visitors. In 2019 a total of more than 123,000 people visited the museum. The organisation has doubled its visitor numbers in the last five years. With this new exhibition, the museum gave the go-ahead for the celebration of 25 years of Children's Book Museum.

One of the visitor reviews: “So much to do for children from young to old (er)! Creative thinking, personal contribution and a mix between doing and thinking.

Picture Credit: © Sarah-Dona