Rethinking museums

A contemporary design for African and European museums is the goal of TheMuseumsLab. The programme, which the DAAD launched in cooperation with other organisations in 2021 and has supported financially ever since, brings together 50 museum professionals from Africa and Europe each year, providing them with a broad platform for sharing knowledge and perspectives.

What form should the museum of the future take? Should it be an exhibition of cultural heritage at a permanent site? Or rather an oral history, a collection of stories? The DAAD-funded programme TheMuseumsLab is open to various answers – and above all embraces different perspectives. “By engaging in exchange with the African and European scholarship holders, we broaden our view of what a museum can be,” says Programme Manager Meryem Korun from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MfN). She believes it is important to question and rethink established concepts and to constantly evolve as a modern institution.

Funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), the programme was jointly developed by the DAAD and several African and European institutions. Currently, the initiative has over 50 international museums and other cultural institutions as its partners. Led by the MfN, alternating museums from both continents are involved in defining its content each year. “For the first time, alumni and alumnae from the past three years of the programme, plus an international academic committee, are helping us with the conceptualisation process this year,” explains Korun.

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