Fellow-Lecture: “The opening of the museum and the secret of the collections”
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On 4 December 2023, Prof. Dr. Erhard Schüttpelz, Professor of Media Theory at the University of Siegen and Senior Fellow of the Centre for Advanced Study, gave the Fellow Lecture „Die Öffnung des Museums und das Geheimnis der Sammlungen“ (“The opening of the museum and the secret of the Collections”).

The most famous founding myth of the modern museum is attributed to the French Revolution, in the course of which the iconoclastic vandalism of the revolutionaries turned into the public display of national cultural assets. The former secret of feudal, monastic and scholarly collections became the public trusteeship of several modern institutions: Museum, academia and the art trade. The lecture aims to counter this reduction to a single European history and its generalisation through the perspective of a Long Duration, including Christopher Bayly's characterisation of an archaic globalisation, Andrew Sherratt's prehistory of modern political economy in Eurasia and Mary W. Helms' theory of a fundamental exoticism of all cultures and the anchoring of its passion for collecting in their respective religious and political centres of power. The Emperor of China meets Napoleon for a duet and sings his tune to modern circumstances until the non-European statues are resurrected and begin to dance in new museums.