Friends or foes? On old and new “heroes of knowledge” in museums
Several centuries ago, the polyhistor, the scholar, or, bluntly borrowing an expression from Lyotard, “the hero of knowledge”, was the master of the museum. He was in control of acquisition, conservation, catalogue, research and display. Today, it is different. Conservators have been present at museums since the 19th century, and in recent times the need for specialization has increased further. For example, exhibition experts and information specialists play important roles. The skills of these experts can be acquired in university departments remote from the departments that uphold the traditional skills for collection driven research – Are these new research domains more apt to the future museum?