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

11. Mai 2017 - 12. Mai 2017, Berlin, Technische Universität

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


Foto-Credit: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museumsinsel / Hans Christian Krass