Universeum meeting, Strasbourg, 22-24 June 2006
Inventorying and preserving university collections – what for?
During the last few years, due to a significant rise in concern about academic heritage, special attention has been given to university museums and collections. Numerous initiatives have emerged all over Europe, mainly focused on building databases, i.e. inventories made accessible online on more or less complex websites.
Although necessary as a first step to understand what is at stake and to improve the visibility of academic heritage, mere inventorying is far from enough, neither to guarantee the preservation of university museums and collections nor to understand why all this materials should be preserved. Progress toward these two goals is very different in each European country. Nevertheless, these two points are recurrent and are linked to broader problems faced by general museums today.
Local, national or even disciplinary specificities, coupled with particular ways of legitimatisation requires care when considering possibilities to build methods « universally » applicable. However, it is possible – indeed necessary- to build collective guidelines to frame the preservation of university museums and collections.
These guidelines should be linked with the missions of universities and collections: teaching, research and promoting the public understanding of science and knowledge. These three themes will underpin the papers presented in this conference.
What is the place of university museums and collections in teaching today? How to make collections gain or regain their value as research tools beyond the areas of research for which they were created? Apart from guided visits, what kind of pedagogical or cultural actions should be considered and directed towards whom?
Curators, historian of science and technology interested or in charge of university museums and collections, are more than welcome to submit proposal before the end of February 2006.
To know more about Universeum, visit the website : http://www.universeum.de