ICR 2014 Annual Conference

Taipei, Taiwan, 20-25 October 2014

“Museum Collections make Connections”

The International Committee for Regional Museums (ICR) 2014 conference in Taipei, Taiwan will be an assembly for discussions on how museums create bonds between visitors, generations and world-wide cultures through use of their collections. By embracing the IMD 2014 theme, ICR wishes to focus on the importance of regional museums’ collections in forming links between institutions, communities and the world at large. Museum professionals, students and academic researchers are invited to present their views on the theme and to explore examples of how such views have been implemented in exhibitions, activities and alliances with other institutions.

Museum collections are subject to constant re-interpretation by ever-changing groups of museum visitors and professionals, as well as by individual visitors and staff members. The contexts in which collections are presented and viewed can fluctuate with time and place. Objects can be regarded subjectively according to the mind-set of the museum professionals and designers working with them, which may not feel relevant to visitors and non-professional viewers. Conversely, visitors’ preconceptions may act as a block to their understanding of the objects presented and the message that the objects are meant to illustrate or convey.

Other aspects concerning museum collections can lie in the grounds for collecting particular objects or groups of objects. Are these mostly inspired by wide-ranging motivations for the preservation and maintenance of a region’s cultural heritage? Do they function most clearly as means for connecting the region’s past with its present? Could it also be possible to detect a more subjective motivation on the part of the museum professional? Do the objects form a basis for her or his research in a particular field? Do purely personal interests play a part in the choice of objects for a museum collection? And how greatly are museum collections influenced by the coincidental – by the offer of objects of more-or-less historical, regional or personal interest? Are such objects accepted or rejected, and how is this accomplished? Such questions might well form grounds for exploring the philosophy of collecting on an individual and an institutional basis.

Re-interpretations, contexts and preconceptions are all concepts that can be seen as challenges facing museum professionals. These concepts might also be considered as opportunities for museums to reach out to new groups that they hope to make connections with. Museums’ place and status in society are often dependent on the extent of their contacts with the communities in which they operate. As museum collections can form the basis for various forms of such contacts, we invite examples of best practices on how such contacts can be established and maintained – on how museum collections make connections.

Deadline for Presentation Proposals: 31 May 2014.

Presentations should be 20 minutes in length. The conference language is English. Interested participants should send a proposal consisting of a 200-300 word abstract, a short biographical note and contact details to: Jean Aase, ICR Secretary, at [email protected] by the above deadline.

All proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee. Successful proposals will be acknowledged by 30 June 2014.