Interdisciplinary networking

In contrast to research conducted at universities, dialogues between institutions are the exception in the museum landscape. Yet it is precisely the museums that bear an interdisciplinary potential. Even if their respective collections are often positioned within one discipline, e.g., the broad range of art, literary, and cultural history, ethnology, design, or photography, the research and presentation of museum objects require cross-disciplinary work. As an approach of action, Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Science and Culture has therefore suggested networking not only universities and museums but also museums among each other (Befragung (Survey) MWK 2014, unpaged)

Unlike the majority of curatorial study courses, PriMus does not make the art museum the sole yardstick. By deliberately integrating different types of museums, PriMus sharpens the eye for differences between types of objects, collection logics, presentation forms, and publics, with the aim of mutually learning from the respective expert competences.

The regional concentration of the partner institutions ensures the manageability of the project and facilitates direct exchange between the actors, who simultaneously stand for different museum types in an exemplary way. Therefore, access to the collection stocks is provided along with guidance of the doctoral candidates by the collection heads and curators of the participating museum. Each museum has three partial stocks or topics that still need to be researched and that are appropriate for being examined in doctorates and exhibitions. PriMus actively aims at establishing an interdisciplinary dialogue between different museum types, supported by the doctoral candidates and the innovation mentors. PriMus pledges the production of new knowledge for museum practice. The basis of this is formed by the continuous exchange on differences in methodical approaches, themes, and object categories, both in the cultural sciences and the different museum types. For example, cultural-historical museums can profit from the presentation strategies of the art museum that highlights the individual work, but often also isolates it. The art museum, in turn, is provided with stimuli in regard to the way in which the preserved works can be framed and elucidated by cultural-historical knowledge—not just in the catalog, but already through visual strategies implemented in the exhibition.