This seminar will look at a series of museums, in Germany and internationally, to examine them with respect to their architecture, their architects, their collection, their institutional history and questions of preserving their collections and foundational narratives. We will look at their historical origins and current transformations to reveal the different dynamics between the exhibits, the audience and the building. This seminar will investigate museum collections through different media, ranging from film, literature, photography and, of course, their architecture.
We will look at aspects of museum management such as theories and practices of curating, collecting, hanging, framing, cleaning and preserving with a particular focus on the relations between material objects, systems of representations and political processes. As many so-called national museum collections were built for treasures seized in colonial expansions and its associated plunder, we will look at challenging questions about the possibilities of returning or repatriating art works and exhibits to their places of origin – places that themselves have undergone radical political and cultural transformations since the excavation or dislocation of their treasures.
The fact that we will not be able to access any of those exhibitions and places during the lockdown of the Corona virus pandemic in 2020, will also challenge us to reflect on the possibilities of museums as virtual realities.