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Material models as recorders of academic communities: A new project on university collections in Germany

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Author(s): Cornelia Weber

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 4;
Start page: 65;
Date: 2011;
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ABSTRACT
Transdisciplinary research on university collections is most rewarding. Such studies give insights into the history and the origin(s) of collections and knowledge as well as the material culture of universities. From this perspective, material models in university collections are excellent objects for study. In their dual role as both products and sources of scientific knowledge, models are key instruments of science. Until today, however, a full historical overview of the three-dimensional models employed across the different scientific branches has not been compiled. Against this background, the recently launched project “Material models in teaching and research: Indexing, documentation and analysis of models in university collections” can be considered a seminal research contribution to scientific material culture. It systematically records and documents three-dimensional models in German academic collections, and presents them via a globally accessible multimedia online-database. This article will provide a brief overview of the initial steps and results of this project and recommend transdisciplinary research as a possibility of promoting academic interest in university museums and collections.
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