Article ID: CBB544081403

Hands-on im Depot: Kustodische und kuratorische Praktiken in der wissenschaftshistorischen Sammlungsforschung (2020)


Scientific collections at universities are important resources for research, teaching, and education in their respective disciplines. Furthermore, during the last decades an interdisciplinary and supra-institutional discourse arose wherein collecting is treated as an universal scientific practice. It’s focus is on aspects that are common to collections in different disciplines such as ethical issues, e.g. related to the provenience of collection items. As such approaches involving ‘external’ researchers from fields like history of science or material culture studies treat collections in different ways as is usual within their original disciplinary cultures, they might in some way alter the collections studied. Unfortunately, case studies on collection research projects highlighting such transformations are a rare exception. In this paper, I, as a historian of science, use the concept of cultural appropriation as it is applied within the material culture studies to describe the process of becoming familiar with a collection, in this case the “Human Embryology Collection (Blechschmidt Collection)” at Göttingen University. As I will show, the historical research on the provenience of its embryonic and fetal specimens not only altered the status and functions, but also the materiality of the collection in a very fundamental way.

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Authors & Contributors
Elsner, Norbert
Rupke, Nicolaas A.
Wendel, Paul J.
Nordmann, Alfred
Morgan, Mary S.
Grüne-Yanoff, Till
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Science and Education
Perspectives on Science
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Wallstein Verlag
Éditions Favre
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge
History of science, as a discipline
Science education and teaching
Public understanding of science
History as a discipline; chronology; study of the past
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
Geneva (Switzerland)
Göttingen (Germany)
Göttingen. Universität
Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève
Cracow. Uniwersytet Jagielloński

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