Antiquarianism 1600-1750

Antiquarianism and private collections before the rise of the museums: transnational networks, mediation and erudition of Danish antiquarians, 1600-1750

Project partners

PhD Fellow, cand.mag. Valdemar Hedelykke Grambye and Associate Professor, PhD Lars Bisgaard, University of Southern Denmark

Project period

1 September 2016 - 1 September 2019

With their private collections, antiquarians such as Ole worm (1566-1654) and many other less known collectors paved the way for the foundation of modern museums and for our initial understanding of how to systematize collections and objects. This project investigates the networks, modes of mediation and erudition of key Danish antiquarians in order to uncover and understand their ambitions and goals behind their private collections, their modes of professional communication relative to modern museum communication and the lasting influence of antiquarianism. By applying a transnational perspective on Danish private collections and antiquarians 1600-1750, the project situates the history of antiquarianism in Denmark within a broader European context, thereby also contributing to a growing interest within international museology in the key importance of transnational elements for the development of modern museums and collections. The empirical parts of the study are based on letters, journals, inventories, publications, auction catalogues etc. with a distinct focus on the collection of ‘cultural’ or ‘national’ objects. Results are discussed and related to the key concepts of enlightenment and entertainment framing Our Museum, thus providing a necessary historical trajectory of how these terms play out in practice in the 17th and 18th centuries.