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Museology (also called “museum science” or “museum science”) “comprises the description, classification and explanation of all the theoretical foundations and practical procedures, methods, techniques and aids that are decisive for the museum phenomenon. Since the field of work of museology, like that of other basic disciplines, is extensive, it also uses a variety of methods. Above all, they include observation, questioning, survey, measurement, interpretation, derivation, comparison, conclusion, generalization and explanation. "

The derivation of the term “museologist” denotes, on the one hand, members of this science, that is, those who deal theoretically and on the scientific basis of museology with museality (see below) and museums at universities or technical colleges, and on the other hand, those people who have received appropriate scientific training in museology Bringing approaches into museum practice. This means that not all (specialist) scientists employed at museums are automatically museologists.


The first source writing on museum theory and museum studies Inscriptiones vel Tituli Theatri Amplissimi comes from Samuel Quiccheberg (1529–1567). He is therefore also known as the "father of museology". This treatise describes a concept for an ideal museum (“Theatrum”).

Another important co-founder of museology was Johann Daniel Major (1634–1693). He wrote, for example, the work Unpredictable concerns of art and natural objects in general and introduced the term Tactica Conclavium . This describes the science of how art and natural history chambers , the forerunners of modern museums , should be set up.

Caspar Friedrich Neickelius (1679–1729) created with his publication Museographia or Instructions for the Right Concept and Useful Creation of the Museorum or the Rarity Chambers , a fundamental work of museology of the time. In 1771 in L'An 2440, rêve s'il en fut jamais, on the eve of the French Revolution, Louis-Sébastien Mercier presented the organizational concepts of the centralized museums in France ( Louvre ).

In 1839 the term museology was first used by Georg Rathgeber (1800–1875), who used it to describe a scientific description of a museum or collection. In conscious distancing from this, Karl Koetschau called his highly practice-oriented specialist journal Museumskunde , which appeared in 1905 . It was only after the Second World War that the museum phenomenon was comprehensively reflected on scientifically and no longer understood as an institutional history, but as a history of ideas. Important impulses for this came from the International Council of Museums ( ICOM ) founded in 1946 .

In order to differentiate between practice-oriented museography and museum studies and at the same time for the scientific legitimacy of museology , from the 1960s onwards a. a. Zbynek Stránský (1926–2016) and Peter van Mensch deservedly. This work was continued and expanded in German-speaking countries and elsewhere. a. by Friedrich Waidacher , whose handbook for general museology is considered one of the standard works for modern museology. Furthermore, by Guido Fackler , who established a comprehensive range of museological courses from Bachelor to PhD at a German university, the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg .

Museum quality

The museum is not so much the original research subject of theoretical museology as “museum quality”. Museumity is understood depending on the approach:

  • “A specifically recognizing and evaluating relationship between man and reality”. This is synonymous with the assumption of an anthropological constant that man selects things as testimony to certain facts, stores them and communicates them to society. In the course of history, this constant manifests itself in different forms, most recently in the phenomenon “ museum ”.
  • the quality assigned to an object through inclusion in a museum collection as a memory carrier
  • the property of an objective “cultural heritage” to document another in one reality.

It becomes clear that these three approaches are not mutually exclusive, but complement one another.

The task of applied museology is to recognize, work out and convey the museum quality against the background of an already existing or to be created collection concept (see also museum education ). This can be done either in the condensed media network of an exhibition of several objects, on the individual object or by means of secondary media (publication, film, audio, Internet ...). Museology is not to be confused with practical museum studies, e.g. B. devotes to questions of preservation, conservation, documentation and inventory, lending and mediation (museum education).

Collection, collection strategies, inventory

One of the primary tasks of practically active museologists is to develop strategies for the collection activities of the respective museum in consultation with the specialist scientists, restorers and neighboring institutions . A specific collection concept must be used to decide whether and according to which criteria an object should be included in the museum's collection. Objects can be collected as representatives of a certain time, a certain region or a series of developments. Further collection criteria are uniqueness, rarity, frequency, material quality and value.

After the formal and legal act of registration in the entry book, the inventory is usually carried out with a time lag, in which all relevant scientifically researched data on the object are recorded and provided with administrative information (e.g. storage location, loan data). In the best case, the amount of data recorded is much larger than the content printed in exhibition catalogs.

Principles of order

A museum is a space for receiving objects, a culture container that requires a walk-in internal order, whereby the spatial arrangement does not necessarily have to reflect the systematics of the respective reference science. A closer look reveals that on the one hand this is only possible for a few sciences, and on the other hand, presentations that have the system as the sole starting point are hardly visitor-friendly.

Since Johann Daniel Major, museum science has been concerned with the systematic or didactic spatial arrangement of museum objects in the architectural space of the museum . The basis are order concepts that embed the individual object in the context of the temporal, spatial, material or qualitative order structure. This reduces epochs and large-scale and global contexts to manageable presentations of exemplary objects. The structure according to epochs or periodizations allows a synchronistic presentation of history .

This also results in the differentiation between permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as the separation of exhibition hall, permanent collection and study collection and magazine. On the other hand, the presentation of the objects requires their guarding, preservation and conservation, labeling and lighting as well as various techniques of illustration and communication.

The spatial order can

  • Reproduce chronological sequences ( antiquity - Middle Ages - modern times - modernity ) and thereby make developments visible, just as natural history museums make development lines traceable by arranging the collections accordingly (see: Phylogenesis ).
  • Summarize material classes and thus show the development of special technologies, as happens in the glass , ceramic and porcelain departments of arts and crafts museums and technical museums , weapons and instrument collections . Therefore numismatics is also a museum science.
  • Consolidate continents and countries in their developments, as done by departments for European art or pre-Columbian culture, for Italian painting or Dutch art in the art and cultural history museums and folklore and open-air museums through topographical order.
  • qualitative orders, e.g. B. according to artistic schools by an arrangement according to the main masters and their workshop effects, an arrangement that many painting and graphic collections follow. Other qualitative orders differentiate between monumental works and cabaret, between high art and everyday objects, media from advertising media to posters and newspapers, technologies from handicrafts to large-scale industry.
  • Thematic arrangements try to combine individual objects with special historical ambiences , historical events and production processes either with originals or through reconstructions and models . These structures can be found in natural history as well as in technical museums.
  • After all, museology as a regulatory science is the basis for the development of museum departments and special museums as well as the differentiation between the permanent collection and the study collection.

Historical museology, museum types and museum research

Historical museology encompasses the history of collecting tangible natural and cultural artefacts, museum buildings and the history of science in museology; To put it more narrowly, she works on the emergence and development of the museum as an institution and its social contexts. A special research area is the museology of individual museum types (e.g. art museums, technical museums).

Museum research analyzes - u. a. statistical - museums, their equipment and visitor numbers, but also the characteristics of visitors and non-visitors.

Associations, research and teaching

The central research and documentation center for museum research in Germany is the Institute for Museum Research in Berlin. In German-speaking countries, courses in museology and the like are offered. a. offered at the following universities:

In the UK , Canada and the US there are museum studies at around 54 universities.

The central international organization is the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The content-related work of ICOM takes place mainly in the 30 internationally organized committees. One of these committees is the ICOFOM, which is dedicated to the special needs and tasks of museologists. In Germany, ICOM Germany , the German National Committee of ICOM, and the German Museum Association are the most important organizations. In Austria it is ICOM Austria and the Austrian Museum Association .

In Switzerland there is the professional association of museologists Switzerland.

In Germany there is the professional association of German registrars , registrars deutschland e. V.

From Austria, the Joanneum Museum Academy plans 10–15 conferences, workshops and excursions for museum workers in German-speaking countries every year. The Museum Academy is an institution of the Universalmuseum Joanneum, operates the largest museological library in Austria as well as an in-residence program and publishes the edition museumsakademie joanneum series by transcript-Verlag.

See also

Related sciences include:


Subject history

  • Guido Fackler : "Museum science has grown up": On the history of museology, museum education and the range of courses in Würzburg. In: Deutscher Museumsbund (ed.): Museum studies. Volume 79, Issue 2. Berlin 2014, ISSN  0027-4178 , pp. 40-46 ( PDF ).
  • Andreas Hanslok: Museology and archival studies in the GDR - demarcation and convergence of two neighboring sciences. Tectum-Verlag, Marburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8288-9581-2 .
  • Enrico Hochmuth, Ines Keske: Alma Mater et "Museologie" non grata. About the academization of a young science. In: Katharina Flügel, Marlies Raffler and Volker Schimpff (eds.): Curiositas. Journal for Museology and Museum Source Studies. Issue 9-10. Beier & Beran, Langenweißbach / Leipzig 2010, ISBN 978-3-941171-49-7 , pp. 3-19.
  • Harriet Roth (Hrsg.): The beginning of museum teaching in Germany. The treatise "Inscriptiones vel Tituli Theatri Amplissimi" by Samuel Quiccheberg. Latin - German. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 978-3-05-003490-4 . (At the same time: Berlin, Humboldt University, dissertation, 1995).

General and museum history

  • Mathias Ernst, Antje Ernst: Museum Management Handbook. 2 volumes (volume 1: reflection on tasks. Public orientation, target development. Volume 2: reflection on results, service orientation , organizational development ). Böhlau Verlag, Cologne et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-16706-6 .
  • Roger Fayet : The logic of the museum. Contributions to museology. Here and now, Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3-03919-371-4 .
  • Katharina Flügel: Introduction to Museology. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 978-3-534-09232-1 (2nd, revised edition, ibid 2009, ISBN 978-3-534-23036-5 ).
  • Katharina wing, Arnold Vogt (ed.): Museology as science and profession in the modern world. (= Leipzig Conversations on Museology, Volume 3). VDG, publishing house and database for the humanities, Weimar 1995, ISBN 978-3-929742-56-5 .
  • Bernhard Graf , Volker Rodekamp (ed.): Museums between quality and relevance. Memorandum on the location of the museums. (= Berlin writings on museum research, Volume 30). G & H Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-940939-22-7 .
  • Andreas Grote (Ed.): Macrocosmos in Microcosmo. The world in the room. On the history of collecting 1450 to 1800 (= Berlin writings on museum studies, volume 10). Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1994, ISBN 978-3-8100-1048-3 .
  • Wolfgang Herbst , KG Levykin: Museology - Theoretical foundations and methodology of work in history museums . VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-326-00229-7 .
  • Alexander Klein: Museum of the Museum - History of the German museums in their world. Thelem, Dresden 2018, ISBN 978-3-945363-66-9 .
  • Gottfried Korff : Museum things. deposit - expose. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2002, ISBN 978-3-412-04202-8 .
  • Claude Lapaire: Small handbook of museum studies. Translated from the French by Wolfgang Güldensupp. Haupt, Bern / Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-258-03190-8 .
  • Klaus Minges: The Collection of the Early Modern Age. Criteria of order and specialization. (= Museums - Past and Present, Volume 3). Lit, Münster 1998, ISBN 978-3-8258-3607-8 . (At the same time: Freiburg (Breisgau), University, Dissertation, 1993).
  • Krzysztof Pomian : The origin of the museum: From collecting. Translated from the French by Gustav Roßler. Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-8031-2302-X .
  • Bénédicte Savoy (ed.): Temple of Art. The creation of the public museum in Germany. 1701-1815. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2006, ISBN 978-3-8053-3637-6 .
  • Wilhelm Schäfer: Museums in the life of our time. De Gruyter, Berlin 1965, ISBN 3-11-130630-5 .
  • Heinz Schütz (Ed.): Museum boom. Change of an institution. (= Kunstforum International , Volume 251). Kunstforum International, Cologne 2017, ISSN  0177-3674 .
  • Thomas Thiemeyer: History in the Museum. Theory - practice - professional fields. A. Francke Verlag, Tübingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8252-5045-4 .
  • Hans-Albert Treff (Ed.): Ready for the museum? Training - further training - imagination. Ardey, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-87023-050-9 , pp. 63-142.
  • Hildegard Vieregg: History of the Museum - An Introduction. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-7705-4623-7 .
  • Hildegard Vieregg: Museum Studies - An Introduction. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Paderborn 2006, ISBN 978-3-8252-2823-1 .
  • Hildegard Vieregg (Ed.): Study book museum sciences - impulses for an international view. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2007, ISBN 978-3-8340-0245-7 .
  • Friedrich Waidacher : Handbook of General Museology. 3rd, unchanged edition. Böhlau, Vienna et al. 1999, ISBN 978-3-205-99130-4 .
  • Friedrich Waidacher: Museology - succinctly. Böhlau, Vienna et al. 2005, ISBN 978-3-8252-2607-7 .
  • Markus Walz (Ed.): Museum manual. History, tasks, perspectives. Springer, Heidelberg 2016, ISBN 978-3-476-02375-9 .

Museum and exhibition theory

  • Felix Ackermann, Anna Boroffka, Gregor H. Lersch (eds.): Participative memory spaces. Dialogic knowledge building in museums and exhibitions. transcript, Bielefeld 2013, ISBN 978-3837623611 .
  • Joachim Baur (ed.): Museum analysis. Methods and contours of a new research field. transcript, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-89942-814-8 .
  • Friedrich von Bose, Kerstin Poehls, Franka Schneider, Annett Schulze (eds.): Museum X. For remeasuring a multi-dimensional space. Panama Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-938714-24-9 .
  • Horst Bredekamp : Longing for antiquity and belief in machines. The history of the Kunstkammer and the future of art history. (= Small Library of Cultural Studies, Volume 41). Wagenbach, Berlin 1993, ISBN 978-3-8031-5141-4 .
  • Bernadette Collenberg-Plotnikov: The Museum as a Provocation of Philosophy - Contributions to a Current Debate. (= Edition Museum, Volume 27). transcript, Bielefeld 2018, ISBN 978-3-8394-4060-5 .
  • Brian O'Doherty: Inside the white cube. (= International Merve Discourse, Volume 190). Translated from the English by Wolfgang Kemp. Merve-Verlag, Berlin 1996, ISBN 978-3-88396-122-4 .
  • Kurt Dröge, Detlef Hoffmann (Hrsg.): Museum revisited. Transdisciplinary perspectives on an institution in transition. transcript, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-8376-1377-3 .
  • Bettina Habsburg-Lothringen (Ed.): Permanent exhibitions. Highlights on one format. (= Edition Museumsakademie Joanneum, Volume 3). transcript, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-8376-1873-0 .
  • Anke te Heesen : Introductory Theories of the Museum. (= Introduction, Volume 398). Junius, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-88506-698-9 .
  • Kristiane Janeke: Contemporary History in Museums - Museums in Contemporary History , Version: 1.0. In: Docupedia Contemporary History , March 8, 2011.
  • Beatrice Jaschke, Charlotte Martinz-Turek, Nora Sternfeld : Who is speaking? Authority and Authority in Exhibitions. (= Exhibition Theory & Practice, Volume 1). Published by Schnittpunkt. Turia + Kant, Vienna 2005, ISBN 978-3-85132-418-1 .
  • Belinda Kazeem, Charlotte Martinz-Turek, Nora Sternfeld: The discomfort in the museum. Post-colonial museologies. (= Exhibition Theory & Practice, Volume 3). Published by Schnittpunkt. Turia + Kant, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-85132-548-5 .
  • Gottfried Korff: Museum things. deposit - expose. 2nd, supplemented edition. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-01506-0 .
  • Ljiljana Radonic , Heidemarie Uhl (Ed.): The contested museum. Exhibiting contemporary history between deconstruction and the creation of meaning. transcript, Bielefeld 2020, ISBN 978-3-8376-5111-9 .
  • Monika Sommer , Charlotte Martinz-Turek (ed.): Storyline. Narrations in the museum. Turia + Kant, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-85132-547-8 .
  • Elisabeth Tietmeyer (Ed.): Participative Strategies in Collecting the Present. Panama Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-938714-28-7 .


  • Günter Bernhardt: Collection documentation and exhibition planning. Paths to an integrated museum work. (= Materials from the Westphalian Museum Office, Volume 5). LWL Museum Office for Westphalia, Münster 2009, ISBN 978-3-927204-70-6 .
  • Manfred Hartmann [u. a.]: inventory, documentation, inventory retention. 4th, expanded and revised edition. (= Materials from the Westphalian Museum Office, Volume 1). Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, Münster 2003, ISBN 978-3-927204-58-4 .
  • Michael Henker (Ed.) Inventory as the basis of museum work. ( Museum building blocks, Volume 13). State office for non-state museums in Bavaria. Berlin [u. a.] 2013, ISBN 978-3-422-06908-4 .
  • Heinz Arno Knorr : Inventory and collection in the local museums. (= Professional method. Instructions for work in local museums, issue 1958). Department for local museums, Halle a. d. Saale 1958.
  • Holger Simon : Notes on cultural policy on the handling of cultural goods from public collections in the age of Internet publication. In: Newsletter photography. Analog and digital image media in archives and collections. Volume 13, 2006, ISSN  0945-0327 , pp. 23-25, online version (PDF; 26 kB).
  • Walter Trachsler: Systematics of cultural-historical material goods. A classification according to functional groups for use in museums and collections. Haupt, Bern et al. 1981, ISBN 978-3-258-02942-9 .

Publications of the museum organizations

Foreign language literature

  • Jannick Daniel Aquilina: Muséologie et muséographie: la Tour de Babel ou les origines de la confusion. In: Muséology. Volume 4, Issue 1. Montréal 2009, pp. 42–61 ( online , French).
  • André Gob, Noémie Drouguet: La muséologie. Histoire, développements, enjeux actuels. Colin, Paris 2003, ISBN 2-200-26490-9 (French).
  • Sharon Macdonald (Ed.): A Companion to Museum Studies. (= Blackwell Companions in Cultural Studies ). John Wiley & Sons, New York NY 2010, ISBN 978-1-4443-3405-0 (English).
  • Muzejski dokumentacijski centar (Ed.) Muzeologija. Zagreb since 1953, ISSN  0353-7552 ( online , Croatian).
  • Dominique Poulot: Patrimoine et musées. L'institution de la culture. (= Collection Carré Histoire, Volume 54). Hachette, Paris 2001, ISBN 978-2-01-145183-5 (French).

Web links

Commons : Museology  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Associations and Organizations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Waidacher: Handbook of general museology. Böhlau, Weimar / Vienna 1999, p. 31f.
  2. Friedrich Waidacher: Handbook of General Museology. Vienna [u. a.] 1999, p. 84.
  3. ^ Stefan Laube: Description of Samuel Quicchelberg's Inscriptiones Vel Titvli Theatri (pdf). In: Retrieved September 14, 2017 .
  4. ^ The museum of Caspar Friedrich Neickel. In: Retrieved August 7, 2020 .
  5. Guido Fackler: "Museum science has grown up": On the history of museology, on museum education and on the Würzburg range of courses. In: Deutscher Museumsbund (Ed.): Museum Studies (Volume 79, Issue 2). Berlin 2014, p. 40.
  6. ^ Christian Müller-Straten: The Contribution of Zbynek Z. Stransky to Museology within the Frame of the Brno Museology School. In: Museum aktuell , January 2007, pp. 19–22.
  7. Guido Fackler: "Museum science has grown up": On the history of museology, on museum education and on the Würzburg range of courses. In: Deutscher Museumsbund (Ed.): Museum Studies (Volume 79, Issue 2). Berlin 2014, pp. 40–44.
  8. Friedrich Waidacher, also on this point after Zbynek Z. Stránský in: Handbuch der Allgemeine Museologie. Böhlau, Weimar / Vienna 1999, p. 34.
  9. BA course “Museology and Material Culture”. In: Official website of the professorship for museology at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. Retrieved October 10, 2019 .
  10. ^ MA "Museum Science / Museum Studies". In: Official website of the professorship for museology at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. Retrieved October 10, 2019 .
  11. MA course "Museum and Ancient Cultures". In: Official website of the professorship for museology at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. Retrieved October 10, 2019 .
  12. ^ MA "Collections - Provenance - Cultural Heritage". In: Official website of the professorship for museology at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. Retrieved October 10, 2019 .
  13. Doctoral studies at the professorship for museology. In: Official website of the professorship for museology at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. Retrieved October 10, 2019 .
  14. Museum Studies (BA) course at HTW Berlin
  15. Museum management and communication (MA) at HTW Berlin
  16. study profile Artistic Museum Studies (Artistic Museum design) ( Memento of the original April 19, 2016 Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link is automatically inserted and not yet tested. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Museology course at the HTWK Leipzig
  18. Study course in museum education / education and mediation in the museum at the HTWK Leipzig
  19. Interdisciplinary master's degree in museum and exhibition at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
  20. Master in art history and museology at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
  21. Degree in Exhibition Development (exhibition design and management) at Danube University Krems
  22. Digital Collection Management course at Danube University Krems
  23. ecm - educating / curating / managing. Master's course in exhibition theory and practice at the University of Applied Arts Vienna
  24. Master in Art Education with a focus on “exhibiting and conveying” at the Zurich University of the Arts ( Memento of the original from November 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  25. Certificate of Advanced Studies Museum work at the HTW Chur (FH) ( Memento of the original from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  26. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from May 13, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (As of January 15, 2006) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  27. ICOFOM. In: ICOM.Museum. Retrieved October 27, 2016 .
  28. website. Retrieved May 11, 2020 .
  29. About us. Museum Academy Joanneum, accessed on September 14, 2017 .
  30. ^ Hubertus coal: Review by Alexander Klein: Museum des Museums - History of German museums in their world. In: (sehepunkte 19, No. 3). March 15, 2019, accessed November 16, 2019 .