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Research and Scientific Cooperation

Research is indispensable for the work of public museums. Collection, conservation, research, and education have been the defining four columns of museum activities for decades. The research conducted at the Dresden State Art Collections (SKD) draws on eclectic scientific methods and approaches and includes not only humanities such as art history, history, or ethnology but also various disciplines of natural sciences. Moreover, the collaboration with universities, research institutions, and museums, domestically as well as abroad, is crucial and imperative for the Dresden State Art Collections. Especially through the cluster DRESDEN concept e.V., which structures and promotes the cooperation between the Dresden University of Technology and other renowned research institutes, the SKD are tightly integrated into Dresden’s academic landscape. For the SKD, working scientifically means to carry out interdisciplinary research: Museums are not just centers of competence in human or social sciences but also forums for exchange between liberal arts and natural sciences. Thus they play a decisive role in the ongoing debate about the future and the relevance of the sciences for society as a whole.

 Sichtung der Bestände japanischer Fotografien in Klotzsche; von links: Mio Wakita (Expertin für Souvenirfotografie der Meiji-Zeit), Cora Würmell, Anita Wang, Agnes Matthias

The Dresden State Art Collections have placed special emphasis on international scientific exchange for a long time – currently with programs such as a regular exchange of scientists with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Dresden Summer – International Academy for the Arts, the Museum Experts Exchange Program with partners in China, or the International Training Programm with the British Museum.

Besuch der indischen Kollegen zur Restaurierung der Miniaturen; links: Petra Kuhlmann Hodick, Anupam Sah; rechts: Olaf Simon, Anne Vieth, Gilbert Lupfer

The wide range of activities the SKD is presently involved in reflects the depth and width of our scientific commitment. Our homepage informs about completed and ongoing research programs. The overview of selected research projects provides information about topics that are currently investigated. Here you can also find contact details of scientists and research groups. Information about conferences, the most important dates and events, as well as additional advice on the topic is available under Current Research. There you will also find an archive of older announcements.

Posse-Tagung am 5. und 6.12.2013 in der Schlosskapelle © M. Rietschel, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

An area of investigation involving all museums at the Dresden State Art Collections is the provenance research. Within the framework of the research, registration, and inventory project Daphne, for example, scientists examine the origin of objects and, as appropriate, prepare the restitution to the previous owners or their heirs respectively. In this essential field for museums the SKD take a leading role as the provenance of all acquisitions and arrivals since 1933 is investigated systematically.

Martin Zavesky erlärt der MEEP-Gruppe erste Ergebnisse zur digitalen Kommunikation, © Wei Feng, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The development of new perspectives on the versatile collections of our museums constitutes another research priority. The two research and exhibition programs “Europe/World” and “Research Travels at the Depot”, both supported by the Museum & Research Foundation, are looking for new approaches to the interpretation and presentation of selected items from the existing stocks and, in consideration of the collection’s history, bring together contemporary questions from the academic discourse and curatorial practice at the museum.

Abnahme, Reinigung und Fotografieren der Ostasiatischen Porzellane, © Barbara Bechter, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

In their non-European, partly still little-known collections, which are by no means concentrated in the Ethnographical museums exclusively, the SKD possesses a remarkable historical depth. With the research program Europe/World, which started in 2014, the SKD dedicates itself to this area with a comprehensive approach in conjunction with other museums. The cooperation with researchers and conservators from all over the world, especially from the countries of origin of the selected objects, is seen as elementary for projects centralized under one roof. In a similar fashion the initiative Research Travels at the Depot, contrived by the philosopher and curator Wolfgang Scheppe, unites several collections of the SKD and tests new exhibition formats. These projects open up new perspectives shaped by museology, cultural studies, and art history and thus provide new vantage points for the discourse on non-European stocks.


The Department of Research and Scientific Cooperation will be happy to assist you if you have any questions.