Lecture series

Art Knowledge: Museums as Knowledge Centres

16 May 2017 from 19:00 to 21:00 hrs
Tolhuistuin, Expositieruimte, IJpromenade 2, 1031 KT Amsterdam
+31 20 551 0859
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This in the third in a new lecture series entitled Art Knowledge (KunstKennis), which is part of The Engineerability of our Knowledge Society (De Maakbaarheid van onze Kennissamenleving) programme. The working language will be English.

As early as the sixteenth century, galleries and curiosity cabinets – the precursors of the museum – were important locations for acquiring knowledge. The narrowing down of the academic concept of knowledge and the encasing of academic research at universities resulted in these galleries and museums being marginalised in the sciences. In recent years, museums at home and abroad have positioned themselves once more as knowledge centres. What role can museums play in the production of scientific knowledge? What ideas exist concerning this issue and how can they be put into practice? How does this contribute to an inclusive knowledge society?

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    • Wayne Modest is director of the Research Centre for Material Culture in Leiden and professor by special appointment at VU University Amsterdam. He occupies the chair set up by the National Museum of World Cultures (NMvW) that focuses on material culture and heritage studies. The chair is part of a targeted collaborative venture between VU University and museums.

Wayne Modest, 16 May 2017, Art Knowledge: Museums as Knowledge Centres.

    • Taco Dibbits has been General Director of the Rijksmuseum since 2016. From 2008, he was the Rijksmuseum’s Director of Collections. He studied art history at VU University Amsterdam and Cambridge University, joining the Rijksmuseum in 2002 as a curator of 17th century painting. In 2006, he was appointed Head of Fine and Decorative Arts and two years later he became the museum’s Director of Collections. Prior to joining the Rijksmuseum, he was director of the Old Masters department at Christie’s in London.

Taco Dibbits, 16 May 2017, Art Knowledge: Museums as Knowledge Centres

    • Michael John Gorman is Founding Director of BIOTOPIA, a new life science museum at Nymphenburg Palace in Bavaria, Germany. He is also Professor of Life Sciences in Society at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich. Prior to that, he was CEO of Science Gallery International.

Michael John Gorman, 16 May 2017, Art Knowledge: Museums as Knowledge Centres.

    • Anna Tummers is curator of old masters at the Frans Hals Museum since 2008 and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam since 2016. Previously, she worked at the Print Room, The Royal Library in Windsor Castle and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She published several books, including The Eye of the Connoisseur: Authenticating Paintings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries.

Anna Tummers, 16 May 2017, Art Knowledge: Museums as Knowledge Centres.

  • Hetty Berg is Chief Curator and Museum Affairs Manager of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam: the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Holocaust Memorial Hollandsche Schouwburg and the National Holocaust Museum. On a museum research grant from NWO she is currently doing a qualitative examination into how museum displays create knowledge and meaning.

Hetty Berg,16 May 2017, Art Knowledge: Museums as Knowledge Centres


Wijnand Mijnhardt is Professor of Post Middle Ages History, in particular culture, mentality and idea history. He specialises in cultural history from 1650 to 1850. In recent years, he has focused mainly on the intellectual history of Enlightenment and Romanticism, the history of science and the history of cultural and scientific infrastructure.

Wijnand Mijnhardt, 16 May 2017

Working language: English

Lecture series The Engineerability of our Knowledge Society

The lecture is part of the series within The Engineerability of our Knowledge Society programme.

The programme aims to bring about a debate between economists and social scientists, culture and science historians, artists and architects, politicians and policymakers and the public at large. A programme is being developed in three successive years based on a specific theme that is central to the knowledge society debate. In 2017, the theme of Art Knowledge is central.

Part of the programme involves a dialogue between scientists and artists. The lectures will be followed by a discussion between the speakers.


The Academy, Society of Arts, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Sven Duprė (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam) and Wijnand Mijnhardt (Utrecht University).