Summer School: Museum Objects as Evidence

From 9-20 July 2018 the Rijksmuseum, the University of Amsterdam and the Bard Graduate Center, will collaborate in offering a Summer School with an interdisciplinary focus on object-based research within a museum setting. Experts in the field will provide students with an exclusive and in-depth look behind the scenes in the conservation studios, science laboratories and museum departments where they operate.

Over the course of two weeks, students will be led through a series of object-driven examinations of pieces from the Rijksmuseum and other collections by a team of researchers, curators, conservators and scientists from the Rijksmuseum, the Conservation Department of the University of Amsterdam and the Bard Graduate Center (New York City). This method of gathering information from the objects allows us to ask more profound questions about the circumstances of their production and use, and in turn about the persons who made and used them.

During the daily sessions case studies will be discussed with interdisciplinary teams of conservators, curators and researchers, using objects drawn mainly from the collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Excursions to other museums and institutions form part of the programme. Each day will end with a wrap up discussion on the theme of the day led by one of the students.

Students will also be introduced to the use of several advanced analytical techniques. Demonstrations will be given by the scientists operating the apparatus, so that the participants can gain first-hand information about the principles , and perhaps more importantly, the possibilities and limitations of technical analysis. Students will take part in an interactive programme of lectures, practical assignments and discussions, with the aim of facilitating an overall hands-on experience. Students will emerge from this programme with a unique set of tools and perspectives for conducting research in material-based cultural history.

For this Summer School, the Rijksmuseum and the University of Amsterdam collaborate under the flag of the Netherlands Institute for Conservation+Art+Science+ (NICAS), of which they are founding partners.

More information: Rijksmuseum website


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