From 20 April 2017 16:00 to 22 April 2017 17:00

International Conference: Museums and (the Loss of) the Encyclopedic Ideal, 1785-2016

Oval Room (1784) in Teylers Museum, Haarlem
Oval Room (1784) in Teylers Museum, Haarlem

On April 20, 21 and 22 of this year, Teylers Museum in Haarlem shall be host to a two-day international conference about museums and the loss of the encyclopedic ideal in the 19th and 20th centuries, taking its venue, a well-preserved 18th century museum as our point of reference. Prof. Wijnand Mijnhardt (Cultural History) will be the keynote speaker.

About the conference

The conference will deal with the question of how the relationship between science and religion, between the visual cultures of art and science, and between religion, ethics and aesthetics has changed over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, and how this affected each of these categories? How did such categories as ‘science’, ‘art’ and ‘the public’ emerge in this process? How did the universal scientist give way to the modern expert? How did research and pedagogy get disentangled? What meanings were attached to the word ‘museum’ and how did these change over time? To what extent can we speak of the creation of clear and meaningful boundaries in this process of differentiation and to what extent is the change merely cosmetic? And last but not least: do we witness a fading of such boundaries again today?

Practical information

The conference is subdivided into 4 sessions:

  1. Teyler’s as a link in a international network, or ‘knowledge hub’.
  2. Physicotheology, bible criticism and the development of new scientific ideas.
  3. The waning of encyclopedism and the advent of specialised disciplines in a museum context.
  4. Fine art in a scientific museum - connections, tensions and possibilities.
Prof. dr. Wijnand Mijnhardt
Prof. dr. Wijnand Mijnhardt

The conference is to be opened on the evening of Thursday, April 20th, with a public lecture by Prof. Wijnand Mijnhardt. The next two days (Friday and Saturday, April 21st and 22nd) are devoted to the conference itself. Conference visitors will be offered a guided tour through the museum in the afternoon preceding Prof. Mijnhardt’s address on the 20th. For further details see the attached programme below and this link. You may address any questions to Ilja Nieuwland at Teylers Museum:, tel. 0031-623407807.

Start date and time
20 April 2017 16:00
End date and time
22 April 2017 17:00
Entrance fee
The regular fee for the conference is €50. Students can apply for a free ticket. To apply, please send an email to Gerda Doorlag ( with a copy of your student card.