Back to All Events

LECTURE | Dr. Steven Engelsman: Vienna and more. Recent and Current Developments in Europe's Ethnological Museums.

  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Department, Rose Room 10th St Constitution Ave NW 20560 Washington United States (map)

Dr. Steven Engelsman, the director of the new Weltmuseum Wien, which reopens this October, is giving a lecture at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the Anthropology Department at the Rose Room with the title: Vienna and more. Recent and Current Developments in Europe's Ethnological Museums.

“In May 2012 I was selected to be the new director of the former Museum für Völkerkunde Wien. Already then I knew this museum has large potential, housing one of the most important historical ethnographical collections worldwide. [...] I now see my main task in accompanying the Weltmuseum Wien on its way to a glorious future. Our museum is a meeting point, where cultural diversity rules and everyone is equal [...]”

In Vienna, the Museum für Völkerkunde was closed for renovation over thirteen years ago, only to be reopened as Weltmuseum Wien - literally world museum Vienna - on October 25th this year. Like many other ethnological museums in Europe it has gone through a drastic transformation, with major shift of focus and mission.

The lecture will address the main reasons for this universal trend and compare different ways out of the dilemma as have been chosen by different museums. The emphasis will be on two museums where Steven Engelsman has been in charge of these transformations: the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, the Netherlands and Weltmuseum Wien.

When: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | 3:00 pm
Where: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Department, Rose Room, 10th St Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20560
Tickets: General admission is free and open to the public.

Dr. Steven Engelsman (*1949) started his museum career as a curator of physics and mathematics at the dutch National Museum of the History of Science. From 1992 through 2012 he was director general of the National Museum of Ethnology. In 2012 he was invited to oversee the transformation of the famous ethnological museum in Vienna, Austria. The new Weltmuseum Wien is scheduled to reopen  on October 25th, 2017.

© Weltmuseum Wien