Annual Conference of the Alliance of Early Universal Museums at the Francke Foundations


Members of the Alliance of Early Universal Museums learn about the history of the Wunderkammer in Halle during a guided tour with the director.

Museum directors and experts from the Alliance of Early Universal Museums (AEUM) representing five European countries will be visiting the Francke Foundations from September 5th to 8th, 2023, to convene for the annual meeting of the Alliance. The purpose of this gathering is to discuss future work themes and the advancement of the network. Initially, member institutions will exchange information about their current work. On the second day of the conference, discussions will focus on future topics: How prepared are early modern universal collections for the 21st century? The international exchange on globally debated subjects such as the management of colonial cultural heritage, opening collections to previously underrepresented visitor groups, and digitization projects is unique for these extraordinary collections in the history of museums.

As part of the four-day programme in Halle, members of the Alliance will not only get to know the Francke Foundations, their historical collections, and current projects but also visit other collections in Halle, including the Botanical Garden, founded in 1698, and the Central Repository for Natural Science Collections at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. Dr. Frank Steinheimer, the collection curator, will present highlights of the zoological collection, which comprises approximately two and a half million specimens, some of which are over 250 years old, in the historical collection halls at Domplatz.

The Alliance was founded on October 13, 2020, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities of the Francke Foundations in the Freylinghausen Hall. The idea behind the Alliance is based on the knowledge that early modern universal collections in Europe were interconnected in various ways. Within this consortium, contemporary issues related to the curatorial handling of inherited collections or their preserved collection parts, as well as the development of future scenarios for their research and presentation, will be discussed by a broadly constituted expert panel.