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Biomedicine in museums

Workshop om artefakter og globalisering, Washington, 6.-8. november 2005

Det næste møde i serien “Artefacts” afholdes i Washington, 6.- 8. november, 2005. “Artefact”-møderne er beregnet for videnskabs-, teknologi- og medicinhistorikere, der

in one way or another use objects in their historical arguments […] and to promote discussion on the roles that objects play in exhibits dealing with the history of science and technology.

Årets møde er på temaet “technology and globalization”. Her følger hele meddelsen (og et abstract):

Artefacts is a series of books, sponsored by the Science Museum, the Deutsches Museum, and the Smithsonian. The three co-editors are Robert Bud, Helmuth Trischler, and Barney Finn. The sub-title of the series is “Studies in the History of Science and Technology” and its major purpose is to provide a venue for articles that in one way or another use objects in their historical arguments. Our goal is, through these examples, to develop an appreciation for the value of objects in historical studies, and also an understanding of the various ways they can be used. A portion (usually about twenty percent) of each volume is oriented towards museums: reviews of exhibits, annotated lists of museums, articles about collections. Our goal
here is to promote discussion on the roles that objects play in exhibits dealing with the history of science and technology.

Five volumes have now been published: Manifesting Medicine, Exposing Electronics, Tackling Transport, Presenting Pictures, Materializing the Military. Two volumes are in the process of being edited, one on space, the other on music. They are published by the Science Museum ( and distributed in the United States by Michigan State University Press (

“Artefacts” is also a series of annual conferences, generally limited to about 35 people, where discussion centers on topics of potential use to the book series (typically about half the contents of a book will come from papers delivered at a meeting). In addition to developing material for the books, these meetings have the goal of promoting interaction among historians working at museums of the history of science and technology (not just the three sponsoring institutions) and also between them and academic historians. Meetings have been held every year, starting in 1996. In addition to London, Munich and Washington, they have been hosted by museums in Paris, Vienna, and Utrecht.

As usual, presentations should use references to objects in making historical arguments. Plan on talking for fifteen minutes and engaging in discussion for a similar length of time. Non-presenters may be asked to chair sessions; they are definitely expected to engage in the discussions.

The format of the meeting is as follows. Sunday afternoon: a museum-oriented activity. Sunday evening: reception/dinner. Monday: presentations and discussion, with a break for lunch. Monday evening:
reception/dinner. Tuesday morning: presentations and discussion, ending at lunch. There is no registration fee and no charge for the luncheon or evening events.

This notice is being sent to past-participants in Artefacts conferences as well as to others who might (or should) be interested in our activities. As an aid to the latter and a reminder to the former, some background information follows.

This is the first in a series of occasional communications (in the future they will be called Artefacts Announcements). We are still looking for people who might be interested in our activities, so if any names
(preferably with email addresses) come to mind please send them to me. And whenever you think you’ve learned as much about us as necessary, let me know and I will take you off the list.

If you would like to attend please contact Robert Bud, Barney Finn or Helmuth Trischler (,,

Barney Finn

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Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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