Conference hosted by the University of Münster (WWU) in cooperation with the University Collections Association (GfU)
11 – 13 July 2019



Transfer is not a particularly new concept. In the past, it referred to the implementation of economically relevant or application-oriented research findings. Nowadays the term has taken on a broader meaning. In a position paper published by the Wissenschaftsrat (German Council of Science and Humanities) in 2016, “transfer” is defined as the conveyance of scientific and technological knowledge into society, culture and politics in the context of various activities.

Accordingly, the Wissenschaftsrat classifies science communication as a transfer activity and explicitly designates exhibitions as a potential transfer medium. This is by no means surprising as museums have been important institutions for the public re-presentation of scientific study and discoveries since the 19th century. However, the Wissenschaftsrat holds a critical view of the traditional concepts of popularisation and knowledge transfer because, by its nature, transfer is not one-directional, but rather a mutual relationship based on exchange and can only succeed if the content and methods correspond to the needs and expectations of the public.

The question of how to form such asymmetrical relationships has been the subject of intensive discussion at least since the literary scholar Mary Lou Pratt coined the term “contact zones” in 1991. New variants of the concept, such as “trading zones” (Galison, 1997) and “transaction spaces” (Nowotny/Scott/Gibbons, 2004), indicate that the academic community has come to a new understanding of science and its transfer relationships. Under this expanded definition of transfer, the focus has also shifted to less frequently considered aspects of university collections and the services they provide, e.g. consultation and advice, translation services and collaborative research activities.

University collections are especially conducive for testing experimental forms of object-oriented transfer. Because of their unique character, university collections can pursue very different paths than, for example, traditional museums. Collaborating with other “transfer specialists” at universities can produce promising results, be it in relation to subject-specific didactics, transfer centres or science communication departments within the faculties. With this in mind, the conference aims to highlight the performance potential of university collections for scientific transfer both within and outside the university.

At the 11th Collection Conference, hosted by the University of Münster and the University Collections Association (GfU) from 11th to 13th of July 2019, participants will discuss how and to what extent scientific collections can contribute to university transfer activities. What forms of transfer activities are conceivable? What might a successful bi- or multi-directional transfer look like? What processes of change could be set in motion by focusing on transfer in and for the collection – as well as within the university?

For the upcoming conference, we are interested in theoretical-reflective papers and praxis-based contributions. The following formats are planned:

Presentation sessions

The conference will focus on:
regarding the transfer zone COLLECTIONS | PUBLIC SPHERE
•    locations and media of transfer
•    mobile transfer formats
•    re-presentation of pathways to knowledge
•    models for bi- and multi-directional transfer
•    collections and application-oriented research
regarding the transfer zone COLLECTIONS | UNIVERSITY
•    collaboration with particular disciplines, science research, science communication and subject-specific didactics
•    positioning collections within university transfer strategies
The length of the presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.


The workshops should offer participants and especially the curators of university collections the opportunity to share praxis-oriented expertise and experience. Possible themes include:
•    transfer formats, analogue and digital,
•    new developments in provenience research and its funding
•    technical and conservational issues
Further suggestions for workshops on the conference theme “transfer zones” are welcome.
Participants may also submit individual wishes for the workshop section.
The workshops can have a duration of one or two double periods.

Poster Session

A poster session will offer the possibility to present and discuss current projects and the latest research findings.



The University Collections Association (GfU) will award six grants of a max. 200 euros each to offset the cost of travel and accommodation expenses for doctoral candidates who provide a substantial contribution to the conference (presentation, workshop, poster). Please submit an informal application to the treasurer of the GfU, Prof Dr Cornelia Weber.

Conference languages are German and English.

Please send your presentation, workshop proposal (max. 1,500 characters) or poster proposal (max 750 characters) together with a short CV by email no later than March 15th, 2019 to the following address:
Dr Eckhard Kluth, Central Curator
Central Curatorial Department of the University of Münster


Conference website here.

Heritage, collections, exhibits, and university museums, Mexico


UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) has a long and consolidated trajectory in terms of heritage, collections, exhibits, and museums. Not only since 1910, when the furniture and facilities of the old National Schools were attributed to the National University, or since 1929, when its activities are redefined and its assets are reassigned by the University Autonomy, moreover the relationship of our University with the national heritage goes back to 1825, when by presidential decree it was decided that the valuable prehispanic pieces were to be concentrated in “one of the classrooms of the University”.

Since then and up to this day, our University has played a lead role in Works related to the gathering, research, conservation, preservation, exhibition and dissemination of the country’s cultural and natural assets, promoting always close contact with national and international specialized agencies, which maintain it up to date in the museum and heritage movements worldwide. Simultaneously, UNAM has generated museum activities of its own that have marked it significantly. These began during the first half of the 20th century. Initially, with the appropriation of the Geology Museum (1929); later, by means of temporary exhibits presented in galleries in Mexico City’s city center.

Once UNAM was installed in the Coyoacán campus, it not only secured the preservation of cultural assets under its care but, stemming from an ample program of cultural dissemination it also created its own exhibition spaces, it developed novel exposition techniques and began conforming new archives that consolidated a great variety of topic collections, used in both teaching and research, and extension and dissemination. During this process it undertook the task of rehabilitating its historical buildings as museums and cultural centers.

To date, we have registered 26 museums and multiple museographic spaces that belong to UNAM created in different moments and circumstances. Its affiliation to different university agencies explains the diversity of objectives that they pursue. The difference in topics, goals, epistemological and dissemination approaches, more than hinder the collector and exposition activities, ratify the vitality of this important museum compound and confirm UNAM’s social projections in terms of its heritage, collections, exhibits, and museums.

For a long time, universities have worked in this aspect. However, there is still much to do, since in the las few years there has been a noticeable growth in collections, exhibits, and museums both at UNAM and other higher education institutions, that have increased the expositive contents, diversifying the concepts and ideas of heritage, and there has also been an important change in the uses of heritage spaces and assets. On the other hand, hypoconnectivity forces a reorganization and documentation of a lot of information on collections, exhibits, and museums to be undertaken to offer it to the public in the new consultation digital platforms. The aforementioned advises to revisit, update, and document that has been done so far and propose, stemming from a inter and transdisciplinary standpoints, new way of registering, integrating, documenting, and disseminating the assets and activities in museum terms.

In order to reach this, conducting encounters that gather specialists and people in charge of the heritage, the exhibits, and the museums of institution of higher education, becomes necessary; with the aim of reflecting on what has been done and the long-terms expectations and, mainly, to reach consensus that establish basic heritage documentation and museum activity standards.

Being aware of this situation, the University Seminar on Museums and Museographic Spaces (SUMyEM), the General Directorate of Dissemination of Science (DGDC), the General Directorate of University Heritage (DGPU), Universum Museum of Science, and the Panel of the International Comitee of Documentation (CIDOC) of ICOM-Mexico call on the university community and interested public to participate in this Colloquium.

 General objective:

To gather specialists and people responsible for cultural and natural heritage, collections, exhibits, and museums at UNAM and other institutions of higher education to dialog and reflect on the state of art in each of the topics, in order to propose strategies that improve its ordinance, preservation, management, and documentation and, along with it, its visibility in the cultural aspect.

Specific objectives:

  • To analyze the new perspectives on cultural/natural heritage, tangible/intangible in the environments of universities and institutions of higher education in order to promote their registry and documentation and, in such a way, ensure their preservation and visibility in national and international ambiences.
  • To exchange experiences of registry, consolidation, preservation and uses of musealized collections, and proposing basic documentation standards.
  • To highlight the importance of registering and documenting the permanent/temporary objectual exhibits in order to recover the museographic trajectory of the institutions of higher education.
  • To highlight the methodical registry of the different activities that are undertaken in the university museums in order to strengthen the fields of museology and museography, along with different academic specializations.


Directed to: museum professionals, people responsible for collections, museographers, designers, teachers, museologists, heritage specialists, cultural managers, students of akin areas, and public interested in these topics.


  • Conferences
  • Dialog roundtables
  • Workshops on museum documentation


Tuesday 9 to Friday 12, April 2019


Colloquium: 10-14 h; Workshops 16-19 h.


UNIVERSUM, Museum of Science, UNAM


 University heritage:

The concepts of heritage have significantly varied in the last years in both local fields and at an international level, thanks to organizations such as ICOMOS, ICOM, UNESCO, that promote the protection of the cultural/natural, tangible/intangible assets, worldwide. As a matter of fact, the protection, conservation and dissemination of the heritage, collections, and university museums were formally settled in 2013 and 2015. However, the institutions of higher education, in addition to guarding the assets in their care, are constant producers of tangible and intangible assets. This leads us to analyze:

  • How do we keep the registries and documentation of heritage assets updated?
  • How do we integrate the heritage documentation methods to the new technologies and environments of the world wide web?
  • How do we link them to more extensive programs?
  • How do we materialize the intangible heritage of universities?
  • Challenges of the university heritage in the face of hyperconectivity.

University collections:

Throughout history, universities, scientific and literary institutes, and centers of higher education have managed to gather a great number of collections -inherited, donated, bought, or elaborated for the specific purpose- in order to comply with the functions of teaching, research, dissemination, and extension of culture. Many of them are already located in museums. Nonetheless, they are still classified and catalogued stemming from their intrinsic or thematic characteristics, and do not respond to museological requirements. This diversity of archives leads us to analyze:

  • University collections = university heritage? Parameters of valuation.
  • Values and uses of university collections.
  • Basic registry and documentation standards
  • How to give historical collections a sense of timeliness?

Permanent, temporary, and itinerary exhibits in museums and spaces of higher education:

Curatorships and museographic montages require a great conceptual, methodological, technical, and practical effort. They are cultural manifestations in themselves, that imply interdisciplinary and creative processes, frequently little known and undervalued. Given the singularity of each exhibit, registering in detail the different aspects that these maneuvers involve with the purpose if capitalizing the different museographical practices, becomes necessary. This leads us to analyze:

  • ¿How do we capitalize the creative processes of the exhibits?
  • How do we better explore the temporary and itinerary exhibits in UNAM’s different spaces?
  • Basic registry and documentation standards
  • Management alternatives for temporary exhibits

Museums and museographic spaces:

Throughout the 20th century, universities and institutes have undertook the task of establishing museums and exhibition spaces with different objectives and purposes. But many have not managed to subsist and have been forced to close their doors. The lack of horizontal and transversal perspectives on their operation and the activities they perform, and, above all, the lack of thorough registries on the works performed renders them very vulnerable. This leads us to analyze:

  • Justification and criteria for the creation of university museums.
  • Characteristics and functioning of the university museums
  • Basic registry and documentation standards
  • Definition of the museographic spaces in universities and institutions of higher education.



Call for Papers for the UMAC Tokyo Seminar is now open

UMAC is organising, with Keio University Art Center in Kyoto, a post-UMAC 2019 Seminar open to all university museums and collections. The theme is University Museums as Cultural Commons: Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Museums.

We are inviting the community to submit abstracts for oral papers and posters until March, 31.

Read more here.

University of Matanzas, Cuba, has a new policy for cultural heritage


The University of Matanzas ( created in Cuba in 1972, through its Consejo de Direcion, has approved on January 31 an integrated policy for cultural heritage.

UMAC congratulates the University for this important achievement towards the preservation, study and public access of its cultural heritage.

More info here (Spanish).

Contact: Armando Santana Montes de Oca

International Museum Day 2019

[Scroll down for French and Spanish]


The worldwide community of museums will celebrate the next International Museum Day on 18 May 2019, around the theme “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition”. ICOM has celebrated International Museum Day (IMD) since 1977 to encourage public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. In 2018, almost 40,000 museums in 158 countries participated in the event by organising specific activities. The theme of International Museum Day 2019 will also be that one of the ICOM General Conference, to be held in Kyoto, Japan from 1 to 7 September 2019.

International Museum Day 2019 will focus on the new roles of museums as active actors in their communities. The role of museums in society is changing. Once static institutions, museums are reinventing themselves to become more interactive, audience focused, community oriented, flexible, adaptable and mobile. They have become cultural hubs functioning as platforms where creativity combines with knowledge and where visitors can also co-create, share and interact.

While preserving their primary missions – collecting, conservation, communication, research, exhibition – museums have transformed their practices to remain closer to the communities they serve. Today they look for innovative ways to tackle contemporary social issues and conflict. By acting locally, museums can also advocate and mitigate global problems, striving to meet the challenges of today’s society proactively. As institutions at the heart of society, they have the power to establish dialogue between cultures, to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define a sustainable future.

As museums increasingly grow into their roles as cultural hubs, they are also finding new ways to honour their collections, their histories and their legacies, creating traditions that will have new meanings for future generations and relevance for an increasingly diverse contemporary audience at a global level. This transformation, which will have a profound impact on museum theory and practice, also forces museum professionals to rethink the value of museums and to question the ethical boundaries that define the very nature of their work.  

At once a focal point for the community and an integral part of a global network, museums offer a platform for translating the needs and views of local communities into a global context.

We invite all of the world’s museums – whether large or small, urban or rural, or dedicated to the arts or sciences – to join us next 18 May in celebrating the complex link between future and tradition. To help institutions wishing to participate in the International Museum Day, ICOM will provide an organisation kit for museums and an interactive map to promote their activities on the new International Museum Day website which will be online in early February.

So that you can promote the event on your websites and social media, we also send you the poster (also available as an attachment in its trilingual version) and the web banner, which you can download below.

We are counting on your participation to make IMD a unifying and festive event worldwide.

Best regards,

The ICOM Secretariat

Le Conseil international des musées (ICOM) organise depuis 1977 la Journée internationale des musées, qui a lieu chaque année le 18 mai, afin de sensibiliser le grand public au rôle des musées dans le développement de la société. En 2018, plus de 40000 musées, dans près de 158 pays, ont participé à cette journée en organisant des activités et des événements dédiés.

L’édition 2019 réunira les musées participants autour du thème « Les musées, plateformes culturelles : l’avenir de la tradition», un thème qui servira également de fil rouge à la Conférence générale de l’ICOM, qui se tiendra à Kyoto, Japon du 1 au 7 septembre 2019.

La Journée internationale des musées 2019 mettra l’accent sur le nouveau rôle des musées en tant qu’acteurs actifs dans leurs communautés. Le rôle des musées dans la société évolue. Institutions auparavant statiques, les musées se réinventent pour devenir plus interactifs, axés sur le public, axés sur leur communauté, flexibles, adaptables et mobiles. Ils sont devenus des centres culturels fonctionnant comme des plateformes où la créativité se combine au savoir et où les visiteurs peuvent également créer, partager et interagir.

Tout en préservant leurs missions premières – collecte, conservation, communication, recherche, exposition – les musées ont transformé leurs pratiques pour rester plus proches des communautés qu’ils servent. Aujourd’hui, ils recherchent des moyens novateurs de s’attaquer aux problèmes sociaux et aux conflits contemporains. En agissant localement, les musées peuvent également défendre et atténuer les problèmes mondiaux en s’efforçant de relever les défis de la société actuelle de manière proactive. En tant qu’institutions au cœur de la société, elles ont le pouvoir d’instaurer un dialogue entre les cultures, de jeter des ponts pour un monde pacifique et de définir un avenir durable.

Au fur et à mesure que les musées jouent un rôle de plus en plus importants en tant que pôles culturels, ils trouvent également de nouveaux moyens d’honorer leurs collections, leurs histoires et leurs héritages, créant ainsi des traditions qui auront de nouvelles significations pour les générations futures et une pertinence pour un public contemporain de plus en plus diversifié au niveau mondial. Cette transformation, qui aura un impact profond sur la théorie et la pratique des musées, oblige également les professionnels des musées à repenser la valeur des musées et à remettre en question les frontières éthiques qui définissent la nature même de leur travail.

À la fois point focal de la communauté et partie intégrante d’un réseau mondial, les musées offrent une plateforme permettant de traduire les besoins et les points de vue des communautés locales dans un contexte mondial.

Qu’ils soient grands ou petits, situés en milieu urbain ou rural, qu’ils soient dédiés aux sciences ou aux arts, nous invitons les musées du monde entier à rejoindre cette fête qui célébrera le lien complexe entre l’avenir et la tradition, le 18 mai prochain.

Pour aider les institutions qui souhaitent participer à la Journée internationale des musées, l’ICOM mettra à disposition un kit d’organisation pour les musées et une carte interactive pour la promotion de leurs activités sur le tout nouveau site web de la journée internationale des musées qui sera en ligne début février.

Afin que vous puissiez relayer l’événement sur vos sites web et réseaux sociaux, nous vous envoyons également l’affiche (disponible également en pièce jointe dans sa version trilingue) et la bannière web.

Cette année encore, votre aide contribuera à la réussite de cet événement fédérateur et festif dans le monde entier !

Vous remerciant de votre participation,

Le Secrétariat de l’ICOM


La comunidad mundial de museos celebrará el próximo Día Internacional de los Museos el 18 de mayo de 2019, en torno al tema “Los museos como ejes culturales: El futuro de la tradición”. El ICOM ha celebrado el Día Internacional de los Museos (DIM) desde 1977 para concienciar al público sobre el papel de los museos en el desarrollo de la sociedad. En 2018, casi 40,000 museos en 158 países y territorios participaron en el evento, organizando actividades especiales. Este año, el tema del Día Internacional de los Museos 2019 también será el mismo que el de la 25 Conferencia General del ICOM, que se celebrará en Kioto, Japón del 1 al 7 de septiembre de 2019.

El Día Internacional de los Museos 2019 se centrará en los nuevos papeles que desempeñan de los museos como actores activos en sus comunidades. El papel de los museos en la sociedad está cambiando. Antes consideradas instituciones estáticas, los museos se están reinventando para ser más interactivos, centrados en la audiencia, orientados a la comunidad, flexibles, adaptables y móviles. Se han convertido en ejes culturales que funcionan como plataformas donde la creatividad se combina con el conocimiento y donde los visitantes pueden co-crear, compartir e interactuar.

A la vez que preservan sus misiones principales (recolección, conservación, comunicación, investigación, exhibición), los museos han transformado sus prácticas para acercarse a las comunidades a las que sirven. Hoy buscan formas innovadoras de abordar problemas y conflictos sociales contemporáneos. Actuando a nivel local, los museos también pueden defender y mitigar problemas de escala global, enfrentándose de manera proactiva a los desafíos que afronta nuestra sociedad. Como instituciones en el corazón de sus comunidades, tienen el poder de establecer un diálogo entre culturas, de construir puentes para un mundo pacífico y de definir un futuro sostenible.

A medida que los museos se desarrollan cada vez más en sus papeles de centros culturales, también encuentran nuevas formas de honrar sus colecciones, historias y legados, creando tradiciones que tendrán nuevos significados para las generaciones futuras y una nueva relevancia para un público contemporáneo y global cada vez más diverso. Esta transformación, que tendrá un profundo impacto en la teoría y la práctica de los museos, también obligará a los profesionales de los museos a repensar el propio valor de los museos y a cuestionar los límites éticos que definen la naturaleza misma de su trabajo.

Siendo al mismo tiempo un punto focal para la comunidad y parte integral de una red mundial, los museos ofrecen una plataforma para traducir las necesidades y visiones de sus comunidades locales a un contexto global.

Invitamos a todos los museos del mundo, ya sean grandes o pequeños, urbanos o rurales, dedicados a las artes o las ciencias, a unirse a nosotros el próximo 18 de mayo para celebrar el complejo vínculo entre el futuro y la tradición. Para ayudar a las instituciones que deseen participar en el Día Internacional de los Museos, el ICOM proporcionará un kit de organización para los museos y un mapa interactivo para promover sus actividades en el nuevo sitio web del Día Internacional de los Museos, el cual estará en línea a principios de febrero.

Para que puedan promocionar el evento en sus sitios web y redes sociales, también les enviamos el póster (disponible como archivo adjunto en su versión trilingüe) y el banner para el sitio web, que puede descargar a continuación.

Contamos con su participación para hacer de IMD un evento unificador y festivo en todo el mundo.


La Secretaría del ICOM

ICOM: Job offers

ICOM has opened two new positions:

  • Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant to the President PDF
  • Legal and Institutional Affairs Coordinator PDF