Rethinking Museums Politically: Berlin’s Altes Museum, Museum Island and the (reconstructed) City Palace

Berlin, Technische Universität, May 11 – 12, 2017

Since its opening in 1830, Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Altes Museum has been located in Berlin’s highly symbolic centre, defined by the royal
City Palace, Cathedral and Armory. While the museum’s performative architecture responds to its location, the current curatorial concept
and display no longer reflect the original museological significance of the building.

Taking Berlin’s Altes Museum as a case study, the conference seeks to reconsider the museum’s transhistorical political role and ask how the
museum might critically respond to contemporary political controversies about the reconstruction of a former royal/imperial City Palace
considered to house the non-European Ethnological Museum and Asian Art Museum.

The conference will discuss how museums might translate their museological legacy into the 21st century and retain socio-political
relevance in an enforced dialogue with architectural symbols of political as well as corporate power in today’s urban spaces.


Thursday 11 May 2017
TU Berlin, Institute for Art History,
Strasse des 17. Juni 150/152, Lecture Hall A 151

18:00 Welcome Bénédicte Savoy, TU Berlin

18:15 Museums, Power, Knowledge
Tony Bennett, Western Sydney University

19:00 Reception

Friday 12 May 2017
TU Berlin, Main Building,
Strasse des 17. Juni 135, Lecture Hall H 3005

10:00 Welcome and Introduction
Andrea Meyer und Annette Loeseke

10:15 From Schloss to ‘Schloss’: Whose museums?
Nikolaus Bernau, Architecture and museum historian, Journalist, Berlin

10:45 Personal Development as Political Principle for the Berlin Museums: Museum for All?
Elsa van Wezel, Institut für Museumsforschung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

11:15 Museum Architecture and Location: The Legacy of Berlin’s Altes Museum
Annette Loeseke, New York University Berlin

12:00 Lunch break

13:30 Museum Architecture as “Truth Spot”? Materials and Memories
Paul Jones, University of Liverpool

14:00 Design for Creative Lives
Suzanne MacLeod, University of Leicester, School of Museum Studies

14:30    Coffee break

15:00 Exhibiting the Museum. Presenting the History of Berlin’s Museum Island
Tom Duncan, Duncan McCauley, Berlin

15:30 Panel-Discussion: Rethinking Museums Politically
Nikolaus Bernau, Tom Duncan, Paul Jones, Suzanne MacLeod, Elsa van Wezel
Moderated by Andrea Meyer und Annette Loeseke

Conference language is English.
Participation is free. No registration required.

Dr Annette Loeseke, New York University Berlin
Dr Andrea Meyer, Technische Universität Berlin


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