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AUSSTELLUNGEN KONTROVERS: New Online Portal Supports Museum Professionals

Institut für Museumsforschung

How can museums present controversial content in an appropriate way? Exhibition organisers can now find answers to this question on the new online portal AUSSTELLUNGEN KONTROVERS. The portal combines research outcomes and examples from the field of how controversial research topics can be presented in museums and exhibitions. In doing so, it hopes to offer support for museum practitioners. The project is the result of a joint DFG knowledge transfer project between the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Institut für Museumsforschung (IfM) and the Deutsches Museum.

Controversies are an everyday occurrence in science and academia, and are therefore increasingly an everyday occurrence within modern scientific museums, too. This new understanding of the role of the museum does not just affect the way that collections are presented: when conveying current research findings – for example about climate change or genetic engineering – topics enter the museum that have the potential to cause conflict. The web portal AUSSTELLUNGEN KONTROVERS was created to support curators and museum workers in this new challenge.

In order to ensure that the portal reflected current research findings, the IWM, the TUM and the IfM – in close collaboration with museum practitioners – evaluated the portal in two stages. The creators will continue to develop the website in the future:

“We hope that other museums will participate, for example by providing examples from their own practice.”

Frank von Hagel, Institut für Museumsforschung