How to digitise millions of collection items and make them publicly accessible? How to strengthen research in museums? How to best preserve collections, while also making them enjoyable for visitors?
The triad of building collections, conducting research and disseminating knowledge puts research museums in an ideal position to contribute state-of-the-art knowledge on current topics and to underline their relevance. The eight research museums within the Leibniz association have developed their special action plan to highlight their unique position at the interface between science and society. Alongside specific projects in individual museums, there are common formats that focus on science communication, knowledge transfer research and the international exchange of knowledge. The action plan of the Leibniz research museums is supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research and the Federal states that are home to the museums in question. Look here for further information.
The four Pillars of the Action Plan:
I. Places for dialogue
Stakeholders from science, politics and the public sphere come together in each of the eight Leibniz research museums and begin a dialogue. These conversations are focused on topics such as the management of our natural and cultural heritage, climate change, the loss of biodiversity, energy transition or structural change.
II. Leibniz network knowledge transfer in museums - facilitation - dialogue
Within this network, the eight Leibniz research museums intensify their collaboration in various fields, on the basis of their research. What practical experiences in knowledge transfer, education and facilitation can be passed on to other research museums? How can new standards and innovative formats be developed to convey knowledge and disseminate research results? Several workshops are held on topics such as virtual, mixed and augmented reality. Look here for further information.
III. Preservation for the future
Within the context of the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018, expert exchange within and between research museums has been expanded and intensified. After all, research results are a team effort by specialists in restoration, scientists and archaeologists. To give an example – how can skins be preserved for research by future generations? How can preservation research be extended? What can national and international players achieve through strategic collaboration? Together, we have developed theme weeks, small exhibitions, an interactive computer game and a film series. More on the subject can be found in our brochure.
Cultural heritage under threat! Mini exhibition on the decomposition of skins
Natural history collections house millions of specimens, including many skins of mammals, which are research subjects as well as cultural heritage. The skins have been collected from all over the world during the past 250 years and they are unique witnesses of past and contemporary biodiversity. To look after and permanently preserve such collections is one of the basic responsibilities of a museum. The threat to the preservation of skins comes from chemical degradation processes, insect infestation and inadequate storage.
Selected specimens from the collection of the Museum für Naturkunde are shown alongside an interactive table developed by the Leibniz research museums with examples to illustrate the degradation processes. With the computer game "Hüter des Kulturerbes" (keepers of our cultural heritage), visitors can playfully engage in the virtual protection of some cultural heritage items.
Visualisation of Research at the Museum: How did Giraffatitan wag its tail? Two palaeontologists explain in a video: