S7.5 History matters! The Value of the Humanities in Natural History Museums


Ms Anita Hermannst├Ądter & Dr Ina Heumann1, Ms Dorit Wolenitz2

1Museum f├╝r Naturkunde Berlin, Germany, 2Icom Nathist, Ramat-gan, Israel


Natural history museums are hybrid and multi-layered institutions. Using a wide range of specimens, they investigate natural history and life on Earth and shape our perception and understanding of nature. In addition, natural history museums are embedded in changing political systems and social transformations and thus articulate and transport cultural values. Given this cultural, historical, and political dimension, natural history museums constitute an exciting research field for the humanities.

Recently, some natural history museums have established humanities departments while others undertake or facilitate individual research projects with a focus on cultural, historical and social issues and contexts. This session aims to present some of these approaches and projects in order to discuss the potentials and values of integrating the humanities within a science institution.

We invite contributions that allow us to exchange experiences and build broad networks.

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