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Glo­bal Sum­mit of Re­se­arch Mu­se­ums II: CON­CEPT & PRO­GRAM

The Global Summit of Research Museums II will reflect on the multifaceted transformations museums face as they move through geographic, political, cultural, and virtual spaces over time. This Summit will bring together museum leaders from around the world to examine both the entangled histories inscribed in objects and the methods of investigation research uses to analyze them from theoretical, institutional and practical points of view. We will focus on the particular potential, the social relevance and global responsibility of collection-based research, which allows our museums to move into their role as strategic places of knowledge production, social participation and international cooperation.

Just as knowledge, goods, news, humans, animals, and ideas circulate, museum objects are on the move over the course of their life cycles. Throughout their migrations, objects experience multiple transformations: they originate in local to regional, national to continental, even in global contexts; are collected across natural and cultural borders; exist within histories of cultural exchange, colonial exploitation, and international networks of research.

Through experimentation, technical innovation, and exploratory methods, research museums create new knowledge that affects how we perceive objects over time. We interpret and reinterpret not only their scientific, cultural and political significance, but also study the material transformations these objects experience as they age, decay, are conserved or reborn virtually as data sets and digital bodies.

Over the last decade, research museums have become increasingly open to transdisciplinary collaborations, have undertaken extensive collection digitization, and have participated in restitution processes. These practices have brought a noticeable sense of movement into and among museum collections, which in turn have led to public attention, new research questions, and new challenges.

The Summit's program orients itself around the eight themes introduced in the Conversations that were held digitally in October 2021. Each theme functions as a thematic building block for sessions over the course of the Summit’s three days.

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