Collective Wisdom: Collecting in the Early Modern Academy

Principal Investigator: Anna Marie Roos
aroos@lincoln.ac.uk
Co-Investigator: Vera Keller
vkeller@uoregon.edu

The shift from the purposefully disordered Kunstkammer or curiosity cabinet of the Renaissance to the ordered Enlightenment museum is well known. What has to be explored fully is the process through which this transformation occurred. Collective Wisdom explores how and why members of the Royal Society (RS), the Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) and the Leopoldina (in Halle, Germany) collected specimens of the natural world, art, and archaeology in the 17th and 18th centuries. In three international workshops, we will analyse the connections between these scholarly organisations, natural philosophy, and antiquarianism (early archaeology), and to what extent these networks shaped the formation of early museums and their categorisation of knowledge.