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Museums, Collections & Society

Leiden and The Hague are home to many museums and Leiden University also houses large numbers of artefacts and archives. The Museums, Collections & Society research programme is led by the Leiden University Faculties of Humanities and Archaeology and aims to promote research on these collections, stimulate Leiden education in this field, and raise ethical questions regarding the collections’ origin.

What do we really know about the role of artefacts in society? Or about the context in which they were collected? What journey did the artefacts make before they were exhibited? Are the exhibited objects in their legitimate place? Whose culture and history is actually on display? Who decides when, why and whether an object is exhibited or stored in depot? What do classifications, i.e. object arrangements, say about how we look at other cultures or cultures from the past? These are some of the topics that curators and other researchers investigate as part of this programme.

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