Call for Papers »19th Symposium of School Museums and Collections of Educational History«

due to our technical problems we extent the deadline to submit proposals for the »19th Symposium of School Museums and Collections of Educational History« on »Exploring Collections of Educational History« to be held at BBF from 28.06.2023 to 30.06.2023. +++ New deadline: Sunday, 15.1.2023.

At the 19th International Symposium on School Museums and Collections of Educational History »Exploring Collections on Educational History«, collections will be presented in their diverse materiality and history, untapped potential for interdisciplinary historical research will be highlighted, and collection-specific research and its results will be addressed.

With the emergence of the modern school system in the 19th century, educational collections were founded in numerous countries. Initially, their purpose as teachers' libraries, school museums, and collections of teaching materials was to provide practical support to educators and to contribute to the professionalization of teaching and schools. Steadily growing collections, which then were orientated to the needs of the time, have since differentiated into various branches of memory institutions. Many of today’s educational history museums, libraries, and archives in public ownership originate in associational or private initiatives.

The following examples serve to illustrate the historical, international parallels as well as the diversity of today's education history collections. For example, the French National Museum of Education (Musée Nationale de l'Éducation - MUNAÉ) dates back to a foundation in 1879. The National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius (Národní Pedagogické Muzeum A Knihovna J. A. Komenského) in Prague opened in 1892 and is now a school museum and library. In 1887, the Danish School Museum (Dansk Skolemuseum) was founded. Its collection was incorporated into the National Library of Denmark in 2017 and large parts of its holdings are now available digitally. The Pestalozzianum in Zurich dates back to 1875. Its library and archive comprise an important Swiss collection on the history of education. The BBF  was founded in 1876 as German School Museum. In its eventful history, it has parted with its museum-specific objects and today owns the largest German collection of printed and archival materials on the history of education.

The process of differentiation of the collections was due to practical requirements and probably also owed to the respective national and political as well as institutional framework conditions. This often led to a fragmentation of collections. Technical developments and digitisation now allow a variety of possibilities to make the educational-historical traditions more visible, to understand their supra-regional and transnational relations, to reconstruct collections virtually and to make them accessible for research and education. 


Contributions are invited on the following topics:

  • Regional/national tradition on the history of education
  • Expansion of collections and updating of collection profiles (how is the collection expanded, according to which criteria e.g. times/regions where do the objects/media come from?)
  • Collection-related research projects (what provenance research has taken place, how has the collection been used by teachers or researchers, are/were collections specially prepared for research projects?)
  • Collection presentation (how is the collection presented, what parts are hidden in repositories and what are the content-related considerations behind it; what kind of collections are presented at all, or are given a special focus; what preparation is necessary)
  • Opening of collections to research and citizen science (are citizens involved in transliteration of sources or indexing work, how are collections made available (digital/physical), how is the offer accepted by researchers, how is the quality/reliability of the data thus obtained ensured?)
  • Digital visibility of collections and their integration into transnational infrastructures (how are collections presented digitally, is the presentation exhaustive, what are remarkable projects, where lie the biggest challenges, where and how are collections made accessible via national or transnational portals - like Europeana).

Submission Format

For presentations (20 minutes talk plus 10 minutes discussion) please submit abstracts in English including the following information: 

  • Name(s), institution, and (professional) contact details of the author(s).
  • Title of the presentation
  • Three keywords
  • Abstract (max. 400 words) including the following information:
  • Topic (if applicable, temporal-spatial focus, theoretical frame of reference, theses)
  • Reference to the conference topic
  • Discussion points
  • References

The conference language is English.

Contact und Submissions:

Dr. Stefanie Kollmann

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Important Dates:

15.1.2023 Proposals submission deadline

30.01.2023 Notification of acceptance

13.02.2023 Conference program finalised

28.6.2023-30.6.2023  19th Symposium of School Museums, BBF, Berlin