Research & Cooperation

The Museum für Islamische Kunst is an internationally renowned research centre, whose employees work in the fields of art and cultural studies, archaeology, restoration studies, object provenance, as well as museum studies and the history of science. The Museum’s activities cover a broad spectrum, ranging from fundamental research into objects using scientific procedures to the analysis of material cultural techniques and critical investigations of object provenance and collecting histories.

One of the focuses of the Museum’s research, restoration and exhibition projects is the urban legacy of the Near and Middle East and its conservation. Featuring finds from historical excavations, the extensive holdings of the collection form the foundations and field of reference for these activities. The objects in the collection originate from sites such as the Sasanian capital of Ctesiphon, the famous caliphate capital of Samarra in Iraq, the Abbasid capital of Raqqah in Syria and the Mongolian summer palace of Takht-e Soleyman in Iran.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst places great importance on dialogue with colleagues around the world, and seeks to actively support their work by hosting visiting researchers. This is supported both through the Museum’s participation in funding programmes and through the cooperation projects it has initiated together with researchers in the regions from which the objects originate. Additionally, we carry out practice-led research work in the fields of museum education and participation. This research is intricately intertwined with the education and outreach work of the Museum. The outcomes of this research work are made accessible through publications, both in print and online.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst is currently a member of:

  • Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe (EUME), a research programme run by the by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Since September 2011, EUME has been continued as a programme at the Forum Transregionale Studien;
  • the research and fellowship programme A Laboratory: Art Histories, Archaeologies, Anthropologies, Aesthetics, at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Previous memberships

  • the DFG-run Cluster of Excellence Topoi (Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations), specifically: ‘Ctesiphon – mediation of archaeological research in the museum, based on the architectural traditions in the Sasanian and Islamic period’, project C-3-1;
  • the research programme Connecting Art Histories in the Museum: The Mediterranean and Asia 400–1650, run by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Max-Planck Gesellschaft, and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin;
  • Episteme in Motion (Objects of transfer – approaches to raising awareness in the museum context of transfer processes that occurred between the Middle East and Europe in the pre-modern era), a special research field run by the DFG/Freie Universität, Berlin;
  • the Zentrum Transkulturelle Studien planning group ‘Art Histories – history of art and aesthetic practices’; a research and fellowship programme at the Forum Transregionale Studien.

Research and cooperation projects at the Museum für Islamische Kunst