SMCEH 19: Overview of All Contributions with Abstracts

»Exploring Collections on Educational History«, 19th International Symposium on School Museums and Collections of Educational History (SMCEH 19) at BBF, June 28-30, 2023.

Program: Overview with Abstracts

(As of March 17, 2023)

For further information (detailed conference schedule, information on conference location, registration terms etc.) please consult the Symposium Webpage.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Introduction: 09:20 – 10:00


Sabine Reh (Director of the BBF | Research Library for the History of Education at DIPF, Berlin, Germany)

Perspectives of the 1984 to 2019 School Museums Symposiums on Museum Collections of Educational History

Branko Šuštar, Maja Hakl Saje & Mateja Ribarič (Slovenian School Museum, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

International Symposiums of School Museums and Collections of Educational History, which began in 1984 with the initiative of Rudolf Lukschanderl (NÖ Schulmuseum Michelstetten, Austria), bring important incentives for international meetings and for closer connecting of very different school museums and collections in Europe and elsewhere. At these Symposiums, at the meetings of school/pedagogical museums, in-depth discussions of various topics relevant to museums take place. The paper presents how Symposiums over the decades have followed the issues of the development and operation of individual museums, especially their museum collections. This topic was specifically addressed in 2003 in Bremen (10th International Symposium: "Zeigt her, was ihr habt! / Show what you've got! Presentation of School History in the Museum").

How successful are the biennial Symposiums in terms of cooperation and international exchange of experiences, review of individual collections, collection of ideas between school museums and collections? We can review the content of past Symposiums through published reports and individual collections of summaries and discussions, as well as various online content related to individual Symposium.

With the experience of many years of cooperation and organization of past museum meetings, how can we look at the presence of the topic of collecting and collections of school museums at the International Symposiums of school museums? The discussion particularly highlights the exhibition and other cooperation of school museums in the presentation of individual themes related to museum collections (collections of school wall charts, school/pedagogical museums of Slavic countries, presentation of clothing culture in school museums in Europe, collections related to writing and school exercise books). We expect that the content of the analysis can stimulate the continuation of Symposium as a form of valuable international cooperation of related, but at the same time, diverse school/pedagogical museums and collection of education.

TOPIC I: Collection Profiles and Collection Expansion: 10:00 – 12:00

Contemporary Collecting and Use of Collections on Digital Platforms in the Kindergarten Museum

Susanna Gillberg & Fredrika Visuri (Ebeneser Foundation and Kindergarten Museum, Helsinki, Finnland)

The Kindergarten Museum in Helsinki, operated by the Ebeneser Foundation, was founded in 1998. It is the only professional museum in Finland specializing in the history of kindergartens by documenting and presenting Finnish kindergarten work and early childhood education. The museum's target groups are families with children, early childhood education groups, students and professionals in the field, childhood reminiscences, and those interested in school architecture.

The first folk kindergarten in the Nordic countries was founded in 1888 in Helsinki and the education of kindergarten teachers began in 1892. The kindergarten work continued from 1908 in the Ebeneser House (the kindergarten until 1986 and the teacher education until 1993), in the same building as the museum today.

Various objects related to the history of kindergartens have been donated to the Ebeneser Foundation before the museum was even founded. The museum's core collection consists of the objects from the kindergarten and seminar that were in the house. Next to it, objects and photographs from kindergartens and Early Childhood Education and Care centers (ECEC) around Finland have been collected later.

To find the essential phenomena of today, we need to be active and connected to the ECEC centers. To be nationwide, we use social media and other digital platforms also for contemporary collecting. For example, in the spring of 2020, the museum collected thoughts and experiences of people working in the ECEC centers around Finland about their work at the beginning of the pandemic.

In social media we also present artefacts and photos that are not otherwise available to the public. We observe present national questions for to give perspective through our collections to those. During 2023, selected parts of our collections will be published in the Finnish information search service Finna. The service is a kind of digital library, where more than 100 Finnish archives, libraries and museums offer free access to their own materials and collection information.

Contemporary collecting raises many questions. How much and what kind of material is expedient to collect each year within the framework of limited resources? Is it even possible for us to see what would be important to collect from today? Reliably, can we exploit social media for answering these questions?

Guiding the Gaze. The Research Center for Historical Visual Media at Wuerzburg University and the Future of Wall Chart Research

Katharina Uphoff (Wuerzburg University) & Michael Markert: (Thuringian University and State Library, Jena, Germany)

Wall charts were the primary visual medium used in schools during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They played a major role in shaping students' views of the world, as well as their understanding of the principles of learning and teaching with and through images. Today, wall charts are no longer used in classrooms, but have instead become important resources for research on the history of education. One example of this is the collection at the "Research Center for Historical Visual Media" at the University of Wuerzburg, which houses one of Europe's largest collections of school wall charts, containing over 20,000 charts covering a period of 150 years. The collection includes images from all school subjects and specialized literature.

The presentation will first provide a brief history of the collection, which began in the 1970s, and then focus on a new exhibition on wall charts at the collection site. The exhibition's thesis is that wall charts were not just visual aids in school lessons, but an important part of an "education of seeing." This will be explored through the exhibition topics of "Learning and teaching how to see" and "Guiding the gaze."

Next, the presentation will explain why wall charts are important research subjects. Due to their diverse history, varied topics across all school subjects, and various ways of representing specific content, a wide range of research questions emerges, encouraging interdisciplinary research projects. Finally, the presentation will focus on the question of how the often isolated research on the history of wall charts and physical collection items (such as at Wuerzburg) can be enhanced using linked data concepts. As an example, we will discuss the data model of the Wuerzburg collection and how it compares to other online databases, highlighting the opportunities and challenges of linking wall chart collection metadata.

The Relocation of the Museum as an Impulse for a Change of Perspective on the Creation of Collections

Martina Kočí (Museum of Education and Pedagogy, Bratislava, Slovakia)

The Museum of Education and Pedagogy was established in 1970, and until 2019 it existed in several temporary premises. This fact also had an impact on the creation of his collections. In the first years of its existence, due to the lack of depository spaces, the focus was on the collection of document and book funds. With the government's request for documenting the period of the construction of socialism in the 80s and with the personnel expansion of the museum, its scope of its acquisition also expanded to include three-dimensional objects - teaching aids, classroom equipment etc. The number of collections and their diversity has increased significantly. After 2 decades of active collecting, the capacity of the museum premises was filled. The problem was solved by relocation the museum to the new premises of the historic school building from 1926. The precise packaging of the collections, many of which were stored unsystematically for space reasons, and their later location in new depositories enabled the curators to gain a holistic view of the individual collections. This brought new impulses to the approach to creation of a collection fund. The result is the preparation of a new concept of collection creation as a basic component of the museum's activity.

TOPIC IIa: Research and Citizen Science I: 12:00 – 13:00

History of School Clothes – Presentation of the Textile Collection of the Slovenian School Museum Through Permanent and Occasional Exhibitions

Marjetka Balkovec Debevec & Maja Hakl Saje: (Slovenian School Museum, Ljubljana, Slovenia) 

The Slovenian School Museum is the oldest specialized museum in Slovenia and at the same time the first all-Slovenian museum, which will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2023. From its foundation to the present, it presents the history and development of education and teaching, the peculiarities of individual historical periods, the position of teachers, students, etc. The museum houses many objects, from textbooks, certificates, annual reports, stereoscopic pictures, photographs of school buildings and classrooms, school equipment, school clothes. The aim of this paper is to show how the textile collection is being presented through permanent and occasional exhibitions. In the past, attention was mainly paid to clothing culture by two occasional exhibitions, namely "School Fashion in Photography" and "What shall I wear for school?". As the title itself suggests, the exhibition "School Fashion in Photography" showed the clothing appearance of pupils and teachers through old school photographs. From this exhibition, a more complex research-exhibition project entitled "What shall I wear to school?" developed. Already with the title, the exhibition addressed the visitors with a question that was asked more than a hundred years ago and is certainly still being asked today, although the original meaning of the question was different.

In the past, researchers who dealt with the question of what pupils and teachers wore in different periods, turned to the Slovenian School Museum for information and material, and the interest of journalists in this topic also increased. All this additionally encouraged a more detailed consideration of the museum's textile collection. In the article, we pay attention, among other things, to the successful cooperation between the museum and the Ljubljana High School for Design and Photography. Old school clothes are rarely preserved, and the oldest clothes kept by the museum are from the beginning of the 20th century. Thus, the main goal of the collaboration was to recreate older school clothes, which we then included in the exhibition. At the same time, under the guidance of the author of the exhibition and the mentors, the students studied in detail old school photos, cuts, materials, the method of sewing and making dresses. The finished products came very close to the original. The museum was enriched not only with a new experience of collaboration and research, but also supplemented its textile collection in this way.

The textile collection consists of various objects, namely products of women's handicrafts (embroidered alphabet, tablecloths, clothes for babies, embroideries, etc.), students' and teachers' clothes. The oldest examples of handicrafts date back to the end of the 19th century, and the dresses, as already mentioned, to the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to children's clothes and civilian teachers' clothes, the Slovenian School Museum also keeps a very special ceremonial uniform of a high school professor who, as a state official, had the right and also the duty to wear a ceremonial uniform at special events. Due to its uniqueness and rarity, the uniform is included in the permanent exhibition, and we pay special attention to it in this article.

Educational Film Practice in Austria – Showcasing a Digital Educational Film Collection

Marie-Noëlle Yazdanpanah, Christian Dewald & Katrin Pilz: (University of Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History, Vienna, Austria)

Since the early 20th century there were initiatives and institutions in Austria that produced and distributed educational films as well as accompanying didactic materials and cooperated closely with state institutions such as the Ministry of Education. A successor organization still exists today. However, the continuous history of educational film in Austria has not yet been thoroughly researched, nor is there a public, systematic, central collection of educational films. In the two national film archives, the Austrian Film Museum and the Film Archive Austria, educational films are regarded as “fellow travelers”, and are archived without accompanying materials (such as slides, textbooks or teaching charts). Often the supplementary paperwork (production documents, scripts, distribution lists, etc.), which is separated from the film reels for conservation reasons, is also lost.

The research project Educational Film Practice in Austria started here and aimed to bring the various educational film sources (texts and images) back together, to examine their relationships to each other, and thus also to explore the practices of educational film from 1918 to the mid-1960s. An important consideration was that employing the moving image for instructional, informational, and pedagogical purposes was––and still is––accompanied by debates about the implications of image rather than text-based knowledge transfer, oscillating between high hopes for the moving image’s educational capacity and warnings of dissipation of knowledge and cultural decline.

One result of the project is a relational database, which we focus on in the presentation and use to exemplify our reflections on the practices of educational film. Its structure follows the project’s central thesis, according to which these practices only take on concrete forms in the link between institutional strategies, screening situations and the styles and content of the films shown. Usually, the films were combined with explanations by teachers, slides or maps, as well as methodical-didactic handouts. With the help of the database, the documents of this practice, which are scattered across diverse archives, can be assigned to the films to which they were related. The database is accessible to the public and is aimed at educators and researchers as well as film enthusiasts who are interested in historical and didactic questions about educational film. The results of the project on the practices of educational film can thus not only be traced and understood by users, but the interface of the database also serves as a starting point for making references other than those suggested in the texts.

TOPIC IIb: Research and Citizen Science I: 14:00 – 16:00

Collections of Children’s Drawings from São Paulo, Chicago and Berlin

Ingrid Dittrich Wiggers (University of Brasilia, Brazil)

This work examines three collections of children's drawings from a comparative perspective and deals with the topic of "collection-related research projects". The first is made up of 2,160 pieces and is located in the collection of the Institute of Brazilian Studies in São Paulo, Brazil. It was organized by Mário de Andrade, an intellectual who implemented the Playgrounds in the second half of the 1930s and preserved the drawings produced by children in these institutions. The second collection, which contains an undefined number of drawings, is part of the historical records of the Francis W. Parker School, produced by Flora Juliette Cooke, its first principal. This material is available for consultation at the Chicago History Museum, United States of America, dating from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Finally, the drawings from the Research Library for the History of Education, in Berlin, Germany, complete the triad of collections, consisting of approximately 14,000 works. It was organized to support the exhibition "The child and the art - on the history of drawing and art classes," which was set up in 1976 by a working group coordinated by Diethart Kerbs, under the sponsorship of Bund Deutscher Kunsterzieher. This collection covers the period from the beginning to the mid-20th century, as well as schools from various German cities. The drawings from São Paulo and Berlin stand out for their repertoire of artistic techniques, which express a refined aesthetic set of visual arts. In contrast, the drawings from Chicago make up portfolios of elementary school students, representing various school activities. In common, these selected drawing collections demonstrate the international movement of pedagogical renewal in education, observed in the period in question.

Expanding Access to the Collection of the Pedagogical Museum of Ukraine Through Virtual Projects (on the Example of the "Accessible Funds of the Pedagogical Museum" Project)

Kira Stepanovych (Pedagogical Museum of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine)

The Pedagogical Museum of Ukraine has rich funds (over 46,000 storage units), which consist mainly of pedagogical literature of various historical periods. Among the museum funds there is the unique collection "Ukrainian Children's Book 1885-1923". In order to popularize this collection, the project "Accessible funds of the Pedagogical Museum" was launched in 2020, one of the components of which was the creation of audio recordings of children's books.

At the beginning, the main goal was to create content accessibility of publications from the museum's funds for people with visual impairments, but the statistics of the reach of the posts, their likes and comments showed that the project is relevant for absolutely everyone. It became especially relevant in 2022! People from various fields and professions (actors, singers, athletes, accountants, doctors) became project participants.

In 2021, another project "Sukhomlynsky among the stars" was launched, in which the tales of Vasyl Sukhomlynsky are voiced by the stars of Ukrainian sports. The first 10 audio recordings were published on Facebook from November to December 2021. The following stars of Ukrainian sports gave their stellar voices to the tales of Vasyl Sukhomlynskyi: honored masters of sports, Olympic and Paralympic champions, coaches. Many participants remained partners of the project and continue to create audio recordings of children's works from the museum's collections.

Thanks to the involvement of participants from various fields and professions, interest in the museum and its collection has grown significantly, as well as the number of requests to search for information in our museum's collections. But the most pleasant thing is the feedback from our subscribers (parents, educators and teachers) for the opportunity to get acquainted with a part of the history of Ukraine through old children's books.

Defragmenting Cultural Heritage for Transnational Research

Kerstin Schwedes (Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute, Brunswick, Germany)

The talk presents and discusses the GLOTREC project, run and coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute in Brunswick. The project aims at digitally uniting textbook collections of institutions worldwide by internationalizing the GEI’s digital services on a technical and content-related level. The main goal is to provide a central access to textbook and educational media data and digitized corpora of collections available around the world. Thus, it provides resources in particular for comparative studies.

The foundation of GLOTREC forms a digital, and consequently non-localized, multi-lingual catalog. It homogenizes the diverse (meta) data from various libraries and brings together widely dispersed collections of analog and digital educational media to form a standardized and expandable reference system. The enhanced version of the multilingual catalog will provide a research instrument with which users can conduct searches tailored to the specific requirements of international educational media research. Interfaces will provide access to digital tools enabling users to further process the data provided by the catalogue.

The talk discusses the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation of research and working practices regarding to GLOTREC.

Collections of educational media have very different backgrounds, which are reflected in the collection profile, but also in the digital recording and processing of the holdings. Homogenization of data by mapping via referenced frameworks is essential for bringing them together - but can also lead to levelling the depth of information.

Standardization of recording is a basic to offer reliable information.

Nevertheless, the infrastructure requires permanent data maintenance and development on a technical as well as content-related level.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

TOPIC III: Regional and National Tradition in the History of Education: 10:30 – 12:00

Country School – Museum – Research Center. 250 Years of Model School in Reckahn

Ariane Brill & Silke Siebrecht-Grabig (Reckahner Museen und Rochow Kultur Ensemble Reckahn, Germany)

Since 1992, the school museum in Reckahn offers insights into the regional school history from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 1990s to its visitors. The museum is located in the former school building that has been erected 250 years ago. Together with the Rochow Museum (founded in 2001), situated in the nearby castle, as well as the estate park, the church and the manor house, the school is part of a unique cultural ensemble. Located at the original historic place, the museums in Reckahn present, inform and research especially the reform of the country school system and the economy of the administration in Reckahn during the era of the Age of Enlightenment.

The village of Reckahn has been known all over Europe. The lord of the manor Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow (1734-1805) built its school in 1773 and thereby opened the first two-class country school in Prussia. Its focus on progressive education and the children-oriented teaching method of the first teacher Heinrich Julius Bruns (1746-1794) made the school a regional and general model for other country schools in Denmark, France, Poland or Russia.

The presentation deals with the collection of the Reckahn museums. Hereby, the following questions are paramount:

  • Through which focus concerning the content and regionality is the collection characterized?
  • How did the museum develop within the past 30 years concerning the exhibition rooms, the addition of objects and the pedagogical offers?

Furthermore, the question is put forward how the permanent exhibitions of fairly small museums can “keep up with the times” regarding their content as well as the presentation of objects.

In addition to that, the presentation deals with the significance of the Reckahn country school in current pedagogical research and discussion. In cooperation with the University of Potsdam, regular conferences and further training seminars are held in Reckahn. Besides the conferences on historical research on the "Volksaufklärung" ("popular enlightenment"), the expert conference of the „Arbeitskreis Menschenrechte“ ("Working Group Human Rights"), taking place every year, should be mentioned. Based on this conference, educational researchers from the German-speaking countries developed the "Reckahner Reflexionen zur Ethik pädagogischer Beziehungen" ("Reckahn reflections on the ethics of pedagogical relationships"). The included guidelines are closely connected to the philanthropic way of teaching at the model school of von Rochow. Those guidelines address, for instance, teachers and educators. In that context, the question should be discussed how the Reckahn museums can function even more as an interface between visitors, schools and university research in the future.

Collecting Pedagogical Knowledge: Goals, Actors, and Collecting Practices of the German School Museum / German Teachers‘ Library in Berlin 1876-1914

Monika Mattes (BBF | Research Library for the History of Education at DIPF, Berlin, Germany)

In January 1876, the Berlin Teachers' Association announced the founding of a „German School Museum. In the years that followed, the library section of the German School Museum in particular was to develop into a rapidly growing collection that was elaborated into sub-collections and continued as the German Teachers' Library in 1908. The collection with its broad spectrum of pedagogical writings, primers, reading and arithmetic books, teaching aids, a collection of „old prints“, manuscripts as well as a collection of periodicals still form the historical core of the BBF | Research Library for the History of Education at DIPF.

In the perspective that collections have to be regarded as „at the same time the targeted and contingent result of a scientific and cultural practice“,  the presentation first focuses on the context of origin and the objectives of this collection, which was initiated and supported by elementary school teachers, and asks about its actors and collection strategies. In doing so, the main areas of the collection around 1900 will be examined, with which the German School Museum distinguished itself from other institutions.

Against the background that the history of education is closely connected with the practice of library and museum collecting, the second part of the lecture will ask about the potential of such a collection for research in the history of education. Measured by the number and spread of collecting institutions, their systematic research is only at the beginning and has primarily focused on the school libraries of higher education until the beginning of the 19th century. Libraries addressing elementary school teachers, which dealt with the pedagogical „knowledge explosion“ in the late Kaiserreich, are a desideratum.

The project to be presented is based on the thesis that the book collection of the Berlin Teachers' Association not only served as an association library for the further education and practical support of elementary school teachers, but also as a special educational library and cultural memory (Gedächtnisspeicher) for the cultural representation of urban elementary school teachers in the Imperial capital Berlin. In this way, the project contributes to a cultural and knowledge-historical broadening of the perspective on the teachers' association historiography and on the image of elementary school teachers that has dominated school-historical research so far.

The Research and Documentation Centre of South Tyrol's Educational History (FDZ/CDR) – Plurality at the Border

Annemarie Augschöll Blasbichler & Sarah Zannini (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy)

The Centre’s main goal, consisting in the documentation and research of South Tyrol’s educational history, is based on defined key points and connected to over regional and international perspectives, researching the genesis of school, as a history of directives with political and educational intention and pedagogical principles at the macro level, as an institutional history at the meso level and as a decisive factor for the individual educational biographies, for the life and work of the protagonists at the micro level. The research’s theoretical foundation is the conception of school as an “institutional actor“ theorized by Helmut Fend (2006). This multilevel framework is particularly useful approaching a widened analyses of the Centre’s collection items, including not only traditional materials, but also oral, material and figurative sources.

Given South Tyrol’s special geographical and historical positioning, the Centre has the unique possibility to collect and analyze materials pertaining to different cultures and languages. Especially after South Tyrol was annexed by Italy following the peace treaties of Saint Germain in September 1919, its school history, closely linked to the political developments, can be traced following the materials collected by the Centre. The presentation of two research items of the Fascist and National socialist time period, related to the corresponding school politics, demonstrates both the common totalitarian approach and the differences in its reception. The national instrumentalization of school is therefore shown in a regional context, often exacerbated by its – both geographically and culturally determined – "border position" and the resulting missionary and/or conquering attitudes of the respective political currents.

Friday, June 30, 2023

TOPIC IV: Presenting Collections and (Digital) Visibility: 09:00 – 10:00

Unsettling History: From Digitization to Public Dialogue following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada

Pia Russel & Graham P. McDonough (University of Victoria, Canada)

Unsettling History is a collaborative public history research project that engages local Indigenous voices, connects rigorous scholarly inquiry, and utilizes digital humanities technologies to empower transformative societal dialogue. Centered on the University of Victoria (UVic) Libraries’ British Columbia Historical Textbooks (BCHT) collection – a print library of textbooks authorized for use in British Columbia’s (BC) public schools since the province joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871 – it promotes a collective understanding of national historical consciousness in Canada’s emerging Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) society. Thanks to a $99K Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant and considerable institutional support, this project is working to transform that static collection of books into a rich interpretative digital library with capacity for lasting transformative dialogue. Moreover, due to the historically significant and often problematic content of many of these textbooks, our team of student and faculty scholars acknowledges that ethically, digitization alone is insufficient: it is essential to have criticism and interpretation alongside the digitized books.

This collection of widely read primary sources provides a basis to analyze and critique Canada’s mainstream nation building narratives and history of colonization – including how a captive audience of children learned to believe in the idea of Canada as a natural political entity and to accept views that one's gender, class, ethnicity, and race would determine who could – and could not – become enfranchised. From primary school readers to high school geography textbooks, pedagogical content infused with racist ideologies appears throughout this collection. As our historiographical research reveals, these textbooks helped establish a problematic national historical consciousness that has persisted for generations.

This project therefore involves completing a textbook database with text analysis capacities; the curation of public digital exhibits; the design of learning objects for K-12 learners; and the creation of a unifying website to bring these interpretative resources together with the existing scanned textbook collection into a cohesive interactive digital library. Our presentation reports on the early stages of this project’s development, particularly in engaging Indigenous ways of knowing and being as well as designing learning tools for primary and secondary learners. The project is concerned with opening this collection to researchers and the general public in light of critical academic research and dialogue in the TRC context. It promotes the library’s socio-political role as a truth-teller.

Introducing the Digital Museum of Learning: Insights, Challenges, and Future Perspectives

Christina Thurman-Wild (Digital Museum of Learning (Jacobs Foundation), Zurich, Switzerland)

Knowing and understanding the history of education is crucial to grasp and address current and future challenges in education, which is why the Jacobs Foundation – one of the world’s leading charitable foundations in the field of education – has developed the Global Education Museums Initiative. The initiative aims to build an innovative and free digital infrastructure that will curate knowledge, artifacts, exhibits and scientific and educational resources about learning and education. This will be achieved in collaboration with an international collective of museums, educators, and researchers to address the contemporary challenge of building a better public awareness and knowledge of the history and future of education and learning. Over the past year, the groundwork for this initiative's various components has been laid – including the new Digital Museum of Learning, which will launch in Spring 2023.

The Digital Museum of Learning is a multi-faceted project which includes various objectives, i.a.:

It aims to empower primary school educators and act as a champion for the impact of their work with a free digital museum platform that curates knowledge, artifacts, exhibits, and resources on education and learning in a highly engaging, aesthetic, innovative and interactive way.

  • It aims to bring museums and their historical treasures into classrooms with an intuitive, tailor-made platform that inspires increased awareness and visibility of museums of education and learning around the world.
  • The project further aims to enable partner education museums to increase their outreach and impact, acquire digital expertise and assets, as well as sustainable digitization standards, to experiment with the presentation of diverse materialities digitally, and to benefit from strategic partnerships, exchanges, and interdisciplinary collaborations from within our international collective.

The museum will collect, digitize and curate historical and contemporary treasures of education and learning museums from around the world on the digital museum platform, exploring new ways of curating and juxtaposing transnational collection objects digitally and integrating them into new thematic frameworks that address contemporary challenges in education and learning, such as sustainable development, digital anxiety, critical thinking in the digital age, and 21st century skills.

The paper presents the Digital Museum of Learning, explores the initial learnings and results of the digital platform, the processes and challenges involved in its realization and execution, including the numerous opportunities and challenges of digitization of different materialities, establishing coherent digitization standards and strategies across the platform and with partners, and the insights, opportunities, setbacks, and future challenges in digital curation.  


TOPIC V:  Research and Citizen Science II: 10:00 – 15:00

Collections of Educational History – Who Collected Where, What and Under Which (Disciplinary) Label

Christiana Bers (University of Göttingen, Germany)

"Behind every collecting is the desire to take things out of the stream of use and put them in a new context. Collecting is a veto against the ravages of time and the natural force of forgetting. It is not that collecting can stop this stream of things into nothingness; in a way, it makes it really visible and tangible in the first place" (Assmann 2008: 345). With the Age of Enlightenment, systematic collecting and the attention for objects in teaching and research began at the universities. In addition to knowledge developments, the collection also reveal the development of the disciplines. This raises the question of when and for what reasons educational collections and educational archives were founded. It also brings up the question of how they are distributed throughout the German-speaking world. The presentation takes up this question and sets itself the task of providing an overview of the pedagogical collections and educational history archives that still exist. For example, the online portal of the Coordination Center for Scientific University Collections lists 27 physical collections and 12 digital collections under the subject area of educational science, ranging from archives to school museums and collections of teaching materials. At the same time, central educational science archives are missing here. The presentation connects to this and attempts to give an overview of the topics, motives for creation and inventories. At the same time, an attempt is made to systematize the field of educational collections and educational history archives. Also the problems of analysis will be considered, as well as the question of pedagogical and educational-scientific objects and sources: Which objects are labelled as educational historical things? Which collections and archives relate to pedagogy and education and what do we learn from them about educational science and historical educational research? What perspectives emerge from this on the field of the materiality of education (Priem, König & Casale 2012).

Objects and Their Discourses: The Potentials of Objects for Children’s Historical Learning Processes in School Collections

Konstantin Keidel & Bernd Wagner, Klaus-Christian Zehbe (Leipzig University, Germany)

The paper connects to the conference theme firstly by discussing the untapped potentials of objects and object interactions in school museums for interdisciplinary research (Barsch & van Norden 2020).

To assess the potential of objects for learning processes of school children, »contact zones« (Wagner 2010, 2017) with historical objects were created in two educational collections: Schulmuseum –Werkstatt für Schulgeschichte (School Museum – Workshop for School History) in Leipzig, Germany and Fondo Pizzigoni (Pizzigoni Fund) in Rome, Italy. Through videographed interactions in the contact zone, the participating children’s learning processes are reconstructed.

Secondly, both collections house historical objects of two prematurely ended educational traditions: of Leipziger Lehrerverein (Leipzig Teachers’ Association, 1846–1933) (Taubert-Striese 1996) and of the Italian educational reformer Giuseppina Pizzigoni (1870–1947) (Chistolini 2015). Both collections are briefly introduced.

Thirdly, by focusing on historical object-centered pedagogical approaches in Germany and Italy, the paper also outlines the European interconnectedness of pedagogical reforms at the start of the 20th century. Historical objects of these pedagogical reforms are present in many educational collections, which can be made accessible to children and support historic learning processes.

Discussion Points: How can educational collections be presented? What kind of discourses does the presentation of objects, documents and settings stimulate about the past, present and future? What and how do children learn from museum presentations for the present and the future?

In the Context of Education MuseumsHistory of Education in Turkey & Turkey in the World History of Education

Selma Aksoy ((Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey & Guest Scientist, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany)

The aim of this study is to determine the place of educational museums in Turkey in the tradition of the history of education in the world through educational museums. The main question of the study that reveals this purpose is "What is the place of Turkish educational history in the world educational history tradition in the context of educational museums?" In order to answer this basic question in the research, firstly, the tradition of world history of education will be analyzed in the context of educational museums. For this purpose, the issues of the journal Paedagogica Historica, which is indexed in the Web of Science database, which is the most prestigious journal of the history of education in the field and which includes the studies on the history of education of all countries of the world, which started its publication life in 1961, will be analyzed by bibliometric method with the keyword "educational museum" and “school museum” between 1961-2022. In the articles analyzed, bibliometric analysis will reveal statistical data about the educational museums that can enter the world agenda or used as a source in the context of subject and scope. The second study to be conducted in this journal will be to analyze the keywords of Ankara Atatürk Education Museum, Izmir Republican Education Museum, Istanbul Republican Education Museum and Ankara 75th Year Republican Education Museum, which are open to the use of researchers in Turkey, in the articles by bibliometric method. The results of the bibliometric analysis will thus point to the place of "educational museums" in the tradition of the history of education in the world and will reveal the place of Turkish educational museums in the history of Turkish education, thus their place in the history of education research in the world will be determined. 

As a result of the research, it is thought that the awareness of Turkish educational museums by Turkish educational history researchers and therefore worldwide is low. From this point of view, suggestions will be made on how to increase the visibility of educational history museums, which are considered within the educational history tradition in Turkey, in the eyes of researchers and scientists. The results of the research will contribute to the knowledge of the collections of Turkish education museums for studies in the field. Because the rich contents of these collections are functional for national as well as transnational researchers.

Unveiling the Expansion of João de Deus Museum’s Book Collection

Elsa Rodrigues (João de Deus Museum, Lisbon, Portugal)

Since its inauguration in 1917, the João de Deus Museum has been a place meant to assemble, as far as possible, the traces of João de Deus’ life, thought and educational value. Due to the fact that João de Deus was a pedagogue and a poet, another main goal of this museum is to preserve the material evidences of the educational development in Portugal by collecting school manuals, educational legislation and books of Portuguese culture and literature.

Despite the existing library catalog is quite vast, counting with 15.000 items, the way those books were incorporated in the museum remained unknown until very recently. A study, that is still a work in progress, is trying to answer to the question: How did the collection expand?

Since João de Deus Ramos (João de Deus’ son) was the driving force of this museum, the present study is focused on the period from 1917 to 1953, covering almost four decades, from the inauguration of the museum until João de Deus Ramos’ death. However, the book catalog entries from 1917 to 1941 do not mention which books were bought or which ones were donated. Just from 1942 to 1953 do the catalog provide that additional information.

Therefore, a way to track these entries and to learn how some books were incorporated in the collection is by analyzing the content of the annual reports and some auctions’ catalogs, by reading personal and institutional correspondence, by searching if books have ex-libris from previous owners and by looking for autographs and dedications on books’ front pages. At this moment it is possible to affirm that this bibliographic collection expanded over time due to incorporations of private libraries, by offers directly made by the books’ authors and publishers, by buying in auctions or by incorporating the books bought by João de Deus Ramos during his European travels, just to mention some of the expansion strategies. Many contributed to this collection because they believed it would worth doing so.

Secondly, by understanding how the collection expanded allows us to have a better knowledge of João de Deus Ramos life and his personal taste, to learn about his network and his circle of national and international friends, to learn who inspired him to go ahead with his educational projects (namely João de Deus Kindergartens) and the roots of his educational and political thoughts. In short, enable us to have a deep understanding of his biography.

History of Education on Postcards – an Unsuspected Source

Christian van Houwelingen, Janneke Pierhagen, Jacques Dane (Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum, Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

The National Museum of Education (Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum) has a collection of some 2,500 postcards depicting exteriors and interiors of school buildings in primary, secondary and vocational education.

The oldest postcards in this collection date from the early twentieth century. At that time, the picture postcard began to make its rise as a popular form of communication. Technical developments made it possible to print images on cards. Thanks to the rise of mail delivery, sending cards became affordable for a large part of the population. Soon cards were used to show local landmarks, such as school buildings, to friends and relatives. Often, postcards were also used by children to show, where they went to school.

Since the school building was often the pride of a village or town, picture postcards were produced of almost every school in the Netherlands. The cards show a range of school buildings, from sober, homely and modest to architectural highlights (such as Jugendstil, Art Deco) that had a dominant position in a town.

Some of the postcards can be seen in the museum's permanent exhibition. However, the majority are stored in the depot. To ensure that this extraordinary visual resource can also be viewed outside the depot, the Museum of Education has developed a website on which the postcards can be shown: [schools hidden on the map]. A team of volunteers has worked to digitize the postcards. The cards were numbered, scanned, organized and put into TMS (The Museum System, the registration system). For each school – as much as possible – address details, GPS coordinates, and historical background information were also retrieved.

In our presentation we will explain why this visual source is of value to the history of education.

Josef Albers and the Westfälische Schulmuseum

Jeffrey Saletnik (Indiana University Bloomington, USA)

Before he began teaching at the Bauhaus, Josef Albers (1888-1976) had been a Volksschullehrer in Provinz Westfalen from 1908 to 1913; after a hiatus in Berlin at the Königliche Kunstschule, where he earned a certification as Zeichenlehrer in 1915, he returned to Westfalen to teach again at regional primary schools until 1918. It was through the Westfälische Schulmuseum in Dortmund that provincial teachers, like Albers, came to know various educational aids or Lehrmittel. The museum, which opened in 1910, housed a permanent display dedicated to regional history (Heimatkundliche Schulsammlung), a large collection of teaching media (Lehrmittelsammlung), and a presentation of materials related to the history of schooling (Schulgeschichte.) It also organized temporary exhibitions and produced publications, including Ratgeber bei der Auswahl von Lehrmitteln für westfälische Schulen (1911), authored by the museum's director, Karl Topp. This publication, historical photographs of the museum, and personal accounts reveal what kinds of learning materials were thought to be significant in the first decades of the twentieth century and, by extension, what Albers's pupils in Westfalen were meant to know – and how they were meant to think – about their world.

In this paper, I demonstrate how, in developing his pedagogy at the Bauhaus, Albers made an analytical subject of the educational forms and ideologies presented at the Westfälische Schulmuseum. Although Topp insisted that the collection of objects in the museum ought not to be viewed as a cabinet of curiosity (Raritätenkabinett), Albers understood its contents as such. He was critical of static teaching objects, like the charts and herbaria displayed in school museums, which already had been molded by an intelligence; he described their use in the classroom as a "funeral experience." In his view, these kinds of objects assumed that a student's mind was to be acted upon rather than actively developed. In contrast, Albers established a process-oriented pedagogy for teaching art and design in which students effectively created their own educational aids—one in which the activity through which students discovered an educational principle and its potential application occurred simultaneously. In elaborating Albers's pedagogy as such, this paper reveals an instance in which a provincial school museum played an unexpected and important role in the history of art pedagogy.

Teaching Catalogs and Collections: A Way of Giving Objects a Voice. Reflection on the Intrahistory of Objects, Their Origins and Uses Beyond Their Description

José Martínez Ruiz-Funes (Universidad de Murcia, Spain), José Pedro Marín Murcia (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) & Francesca Davida Pizzigon (Instituto Nazionale di Documentazione, Innovazione e Ricerca Educativa (INDIRE), Florence, Italy)

When an academic institution sets itself the task of enhancing its historical-educational heritage, it is faced with a multitude of questions. In order to build a collection ex novo, the institution will need to rely on the heritage it preserves, but it will also often acquire elements that do not exist in those collections. Although we can intuitively, or even using museum criteria, put the collections in order for their exhibition, it is essential to delve into the origins and uses of the pieces that make them up, both the original ones and those that have been added over time.Teaching catalogs represent an opportunity to systematize the exhibition of collections. But not only that, it is essential to date the objects, to investigate their didactic uses, their provenance and their representativeness in the transfer of certain educational models.

The first case of the use of catalogs is related to the classification and presentation of the collection of the Escuela Universitaria de Magisterio of the University of Murcia and its use as a didactic resource in university classrooms, for which it has been necessary to carry out taxonomies that have made it possible to analyze their technical characteristics, their functioning and their didactic function.

A second way of using the catalog to reconstruct collections and identify objects refers to its use in the creation of the school museum. Significant is the experience carried out in Turin (Italy) in which the project "Do you want to build your school museum?" helps pupils to rediscover the heritage of their school and to create a school museum. In this case, the aim is to insert the research tool represented by the catalog into an educational project in which the pupils are the protagonists: the catalog is a source that allows them to identify and date the historical objects of their school.