Research topic: Museums and museology

Museums are modern institutions that collect, preserve, research into and disseminate knowledge about art, culture and natural history.

Collecting is an activity that we can trace far back in history, but modern public museums emerged during the second half of the 18th century. Today most museums are historical, i.e., they preserve and disseminate knowledge about the past.

But right from their beginnings museums have also been research institutions that have promulgated new knowledge about the contemporary natural world and human ways of life. Accordingly museums have played a decisive role in the development of academic disciplines such as anthropology, botany, geology and zoology, as well as historical disciplines such as archaeology, ethnology and art history.

Muselogists study both the history of museums and how they exist today. From around 1900 researchers began to investigate the best ways for museums to organise their collections and communicate knowledge.

Subsequently museologists have become more concerned with studying the relationship between museums and society and have asked questions such as: why do we have museums; why are museums institutions of power; and how do museums promulgate knowledge and provide experiential space?

Museologists also study how efforts to preserve culture and the natural world are constantly expanding museums' areas of relevance. They also study the preservation and museumisation of particular areas.

Today museology is an interdisciplinary field that derives theories, methods and research topics from fields such as art history, the history of science, media studies, sociology, anthropology, archaeology and cultural history.

Research projects

See also

Center for Museum Studies

Did you find what you were looking for?
Published Feb. 5, 2013 12:52 PM - Last modified Dec. 19, 2017 10:25 AM