Values of the Pasts. Museums and Collections as a Resource of Knowledge, and Reflexive Self-Understanding

Leibniz Research Alliance "Value of the Past", Whipple Museum of the History of Science Cambridge

30. November - 2. December 2023 13.30 Uhr
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Free School Lane Cambridge, CB2 3RH

Toppled monuments, conflicts over the restitution of objects, debates about the epochal nature of the Anthropocene or the fundamentals of biodiversity research: All of these subjects share common questions about how societies value the past and how they use material relics to assign and compete over these values. This conference focusses on the values that museums and collections attach to the past, to their institution, their collections and exhibitions.

Museums, collections and their objects always have changing and persisting symbolic, aesthetic, scientific, historical, cultural, societal, and economic values. The conference will examine processes of value creation as well as competing values in order to gain a deeper understanding of the historicity of values. It seeks to gain an understanding of past and current practices of assessing, rethinking, resituating and harnessing the values of the past in all their complexity.

Coordinated by the Whipple Museum of the History of Science and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (working with University of Cambridge Museums & Botanic Garden) and the Leibniz Research Alliance ’Value of the Past’, including the Research Museums of the Leibniz Association. With support from the DAAD-University of Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO), and from the Leibniz Research Alliance “Value of the Past”.

Please register with Thomas Banbury (tjb98(at)cam.ac.uk) by Friday, November 24.

Thursday, 30 November:

1:30 pm: Welcome and Introduction:
Liba Taub (Whipple Museum of the History of Science Cambridge)
Achim Saupe (Leibniz Research Alliance Value of the Past/Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam)

2:00-3:30 pm: Fundamental questions concerning Museum Values of the Past:
Sunhild Kleingärtner (German Mining Museum Bochum – Leibniz Research Museum for Georessources): Trust in museums. The value of an institution‘s past

Ruth Schilling (German Maritime Museum Bremerhaven):
Beyond Description: Practicalities of Museum Artefacts

3:30-4:00 pm: Coffee & tea

4:00 pm: Tour of Whipple Museum

7:00 pm: Dinner: Cote Brasserie
(for speakers and chairs)

Friday, 1 December:

10:00 am: Welcome:
Leila Mukhida (Deputy Director, DAAD Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies, University of Cambridge)

10:30 am – 12:00 noon: Thinking about Values of the Past for the future:
Luke Syson (Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge):
The Fitzwilliam Museum: history and future

Daniel Hess (Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg): Museum Collections under New Perspectives. From the Germanic to a European Museum

12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch in HPS (for registered participants)

1:30 – 3:00 pm: Natural History collections:
Willi Xylander (Senckenberg Görlitz): Natural history collections: resource for answers on questions of the past, presence and future

Jack Ashby (Cambridge University Museum of Zoology): Adding values: social, environmental and scientific relevance in natural history museums

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Museum visits: Sedgwick Museum, Polar Museum

7:00 pm: Dinner: The Pint Shop (for speakers and chairs)

Saturday, 2 December:

9:45 – 11:15 am: Anthropological and Archaeological Collections:

9:45 am: Jimena Guerrero Arenas (MAA, University of Cambridge): Collective Voices: Rethinking and Reshaping Museum Archaeology Collections‘ Values

10:30 am: Joachim Baur (Technical University Dortmund): Reevaluating Blumenbach’s skulls. Curatorial strategies at Forum Wissen Göttingen

11:15 am: short break
11:30 am: The future of the past:
Katie Eagleton (St Andrews University): Collections Re-Collecting Empire: rethinking digital engagement with objects and collections

12:15-12:30 am: Closing remarks

Liba Taub and Joshua Nall (Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge)
Achim Saupe (Leibniz-Research Alliance Value of the Past – Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam)
with support from Ulf Hashagen (Deutsches Museum, Munich & LMU, Munich)

Veröffentlicht am 16.11.2023