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Project: Beyond curiosity and wonder—understanding the Museum Stobaeanum

This collaborative project is the first comprehensive study of the Museum Stobaeanum, Kilian Stobaeus’ (1690-1742) extensive collection. The collection consists of several hundred objects from Asia, the Pacific, North America, Greenland and Africa – most of them collected in the 18th and early 19th c. in the tradition of Cabinets of Curiosities.

About the project

Project manager
Ulf Johansson Dahre
Other project members
Ulf Johansson Dahre - Socialantropologi (PI) Joachim Östlund - Historia (PI) Per Ahlberg - Berggrundsgeologi (PI) Ulf Arup - Biologiska museet (PI) Mats Eriksson - Berggrundsgeologi (PI) Håkan Håkansson - Avdelningen för Samlingar (PI) Per Karsten - Historiska museet (PI) Andreas Manhag - Historiska museet (PI) Mostadius, Maria (PI) Cajsa Sjöberg - Latin (PI) Gitte Ingvardson (Forskare) Naum, Magdalena - Aarhus University (Projektkoordinator) Van Gent, Jacqueline (PI)
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, Lund University, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE).
Financier
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond & Vittterhetsakademin
Timetable
1 Jan 2017–31 Dec 2019

More about the project

This collaborative project is the first comprehensive study of the Museum Stobaeanum, Kilian Stobaeus' (1690-1742) extensive collection of ethnographic, archeological and natural history objects gathered by the scholar throughout his life and donated to Lund University in 1735, as well as the artefacts added to the collection in the following centuries. The collection consists of several hundred objects from Asia, the Pacific, North America, Greenland and Africa – most of them collected in the 18th and early 19th c. in the tradition of Cabinets of Curiosities.
The Museum Stobaeanum, which forms the basis of Lund University Historical Museum (LUHM), offers an excellent lens for understanding Sweden's global networks and the changing ideas about how to represent the "total world" in a museum. Despite its richness, the collection is poorly researched and little known in Sweden and abroad. The lack of historical information means that currently it is difficult for the public to navigate the exhibit and to understand its content and context. The project aims to overcome these issues. Its outcome will be a full overview of the collection, its history and its socio-cultural settings which will allow for a better understanding of our own historical mediation process.

The aim of the project is threefold: 1) to identify and document the collection, which is currently dispersed between different institutions; 2) to generate much needed historical knowledge about the provenance of the objects and socio-cultural conditions of their acquisition; 3) to open the collection to a wider public and further research.

Joachim Östlund will research the biographies of "Oriental" objects in the Stobaeus collection. He will study how the objects in Stobaeus collection are related to Sweden's long-distance trade, foreign policy, gift-giving culture, and scientific ambitions in the "Orient". He will also study their singularization as museum pieces: how the objects through history becomes symbols of the people and the cultures they represent and how they are related to biblical and pagan pasts, to Christian and Muslim legacies.