In 1907 a collecting fever spread among Danish doctors. They began collecting medical objects to bear witness to the past of medical practice and its development. Together with “retired” scientific collections from medical research and teaching these objects form the backbone of the collection of medical science we have today at Medical Museion. While our collection yields a ‘frozen’ past, it also evolves in time: We preserve objects to gain insights, yet not merely their meanings and cultural significance change over time, but their very materiality transforms. Both literally and metaphorically, objects live and die in collections. They may suddenly crop up from oblivion providing a new fertile soil for knowledge production or they may decay in silence. In the workshop, we wish to address the relationship between collections, knowledge and time both inside and outside museums; in collections of science and culture; and in mixing old material with new questions.

Within this setting, a plethora of themes unfolds concerning the temporalities of collections, their lifespan, differences between collections of natural and cultural objects, and differences between ways of knowing. To grapple with these themes, we bring together multiple disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary contributions. By bringing together such multi-facetted perspectives, we wish to (re-)think collections within the nexus time/knowledge and discuss the future connections between knowledge and collections.

The workshop will take place November 8-9 2019 over one and a half day at Medical Museion in Copenhagen.

We are aiming to keep the paper presentations at the workshop relatively short and instead pre-circulate drafts of the papers to open for more in depth discussion. The paper-sessions will be punctuated by other events such as an object-session looking at material from the collections and exhibition tours.

Confirmed speakers: Tal Adler, Tiziana Nicoletta Beltrame, Robert Bud, George Loudon, Jean-Paul Martinon, Staffan Muller-Wille, Tune Pers, Nicholas Thomas, Adrian Van Allen.

For more information contact:
Karin Tybjerg
Martin Grünfeld

The workshop is open for everyone but active participation in discussions and preliminary reading of papers is expected.

Please note: There is no registration fee for attending the conference, but if you would like to attend the conference dinner on Friday evening there is a fee and you must choose registration with dinner.
Registration here.