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.

Call For Papers and Registration

Call For Papers

We welcome paper and session proposals addressing the following topics:

  • Collections and artifacts in the identity and public image of museums and similar institutions
  • Shifts in the scope and focus of collecting while balancing scholarly activities and public engagement
  • Shifts in object interpretation and display in response to societal changes and pressures
  • The place of scholarly inquiry in shaping the maintenance, development, and use of collections
  • Challenges in setting priorities for the use and maintenance of collections
  • The role of digital collections in museum practice and audience engagement

Deadline for submissions: Friday, July 20

Submit Paper Proposal

Submit Session Proposal

If you have additions questions, please send a message to


Registration begins in April 2018. Session details will be solidified in July. This webpage will be updated once sessions are finalized.

Registration deadline: Friday, September 14

Register for Conference


The Adler Planetarium has secured a block of rooms at a discounted rate at the Best Western Grant Park Hotel, which is located just one mile from the museum. If you would like to book a room, please do so using this special link or by calling 1-800-472-6875 (international) or 1-312-922-2900 (local) and mentioning the Artefacts Conference and Adler Planetarium. Deadline to book at this special rate is Friday, August 31, 2018.

Other 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