Sharing Heritage in Intercultural Contexts
Religious Objects in the Museum in Art Historical Research and Education
Dr. Katharina Schüppel,
Technische Universität Dortmund, Institut für Kunst und Materielle Kultur, Seminar für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft
One particular challenge facing art history today lies in its responsibility for making cultural heritage universally accessible in a globalized world. My paper presents the project ‘Kulturelles Erbe interkulturell’ (Dortmund University/DoProfiL/BMBF).
The project emerged in 2014. It is engaged with the idea of ‘sharing heritage’ in intercultural contexts through research and education: at school as well as at university, with a special focus on the museum as an extra-curricular place of learning.
An important research perspective within the project is that of ‘material religion’. From this perspective the project explores the complex and often contested object status of religious artifacts in the museum – from cult image or liturgical object to completely or partially musealized object of art history.
Moreover, it is a core aim of ‘Kulturelles Erbe interkulturell’ to establish new ways of art historical storytelling which address religious objects as ‘objects of belonging’: socially entangled objects which create and reflect locality – for example in the form of community building processes – and to which also newcomers can relate.
From this point of view my paper will discuss the complex and changing object status of the Golden Madonna in the cathedral in Essen, a key piece of medieval sculpture, in the 20th and 21st centuries: the Madonna as medieval artifact, as cult image and as object of belonging.