Artefacts Consortium Annual Meeting

Artefacts XXIII

October 14-16, 2018
Adler Planetarium
Chicago, USA

The Adler Planetarium is proud to host the 2018 meeting of the Artefacts Consortium in Chicago USA! Artefacts Consortium is an association of historians in museums and academic institutions from around the world, who share the goal of promoting the use of objects in serious historical studies. Artefacts meetings are opportunities for professionals to explore the use, care, and interpretation of objects and collections.

The final meeting schedule will include opportunities to experience and explore collections, exhibitions, and programs at the Adler Planetarium, the first planetarium in the Americas. We will see you in Chicago!

Meeting Theme: Relevance of Collections

The 2018 Artefacts meeting will explore how museums and related institutions have defined and maintained the relevance of their collections. This follows up on themes explored in previous Artefacts meetings and is described in the volume Challenging Collections from the Artefacts XVI meeting. As the editors note in the introduction to this volume, museums today “must balance a number of functions, not always mutually compatible: exhibition, preservation, research, and education. … the nature of museums’ relationships with their public has shifted from one of unquestioned authority to a partner in dialogue” (Boyle and Hagmann 2017). At the same time, humanities scholars have had increased interest in objects, collections, and museums. For a range of stakeholders, collections provoke questions of status and purpose that are, organizational, social, and intellectual.

As context and events changed how museums operate, how have scholars at museums and other institutions approached the relevance of collections? In what way have interpretations changed depending on prevalent historiography and motivations of the interpreter? What is the impact of changing techniques available for examining objects? How do institutions prioritize acquisitions and displays for their collections? How has the growing importance of digital access affected the role of collections? More generally, in what ways are history collections relevant to broader society?

This meeting will allow scholars within and outside the museum community to explore how the relevance of museum collections has changed through history. It will also enable museum professionals to pose challenging questions about the present and future of relevance of collections.

Program Schedule

A program and list of abstracts are available.

If you have additional questions, please send a message to

Program & Abstracts


Accommodations may be found by using your booking method of choice. The Adler is located on Museum Campus in Chicago near the South Loop/Grant Park neighborhood.

Adler Planetarium
1300 S Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL, USA 60605