Like many ethnological museums, the Linden Museum is undergoing a process of transformation. In an increasingly diverse society, we must renegotiate the role and relevance of ethnological museums. The support provided through the Initiative for Ethnological Collections enables us to experimentally develop the basis for a new orientation. Following the principle of the laboratory, we develop and test new forms of museum knowledge production, mediation, and presentation in eight LindenLabs.
Selected collections and objects help us to address different aspects of social inequality and the effects of (post-)colonial structures in museums. Some of the labs work on questions using a regional example, others focus on the work behind the scenes. All labs deal with overarching themes: practices of ethnographic collecting, colonial structures and their aftermath in the present, the distribution of authority for interpretation in museums, and the role of ethnological museums today. For this purpose, we combine participatory formats with research on the origin of the collections in order to reveal and reflect on their entanglements. In this way, an innovative and experimental space is created in the museum, which enables an intensive exchange with actors — representatives of the source communities, members of the diverse urban society of Stuttgart, scientists, artists and designers. Together we question existing structures from within and create multivoiced presentations. This experimental and procedural approach also means that any conclusions reached can change over the course of the project, as we repeatedly review and advance what we have learnt and experienced. The process and results will be presented twice a year in the lab from spring 2020 onwards and will also be documented on the project blog at www.lindenlab.de. Ultimately, the results will also be in corporated into new permanent exhibitions. They form the basis for the new museum concept in a future new building.
German Federal Cultural Foundation
The German Federal Cultural Foundation is one of the largest publicly funded cultural foundations in Europe. Its main priority is to support innovative programmes and projects on an international level. The foundation also invests in projects which develop new methods of fostering cultural heritage and tap into the cultural and artistic potential of knowledge required for addressing social issues.
Die Initiative für Ethnologische Initiative for Ethnological Collections
In recent years, the Federal Cultural Foundation has already launched a number of programmes and initiatives that support processes of change, such as a contemporary and global orientation of museum collections. In addition to the Linden-Museum Stuttgart, the Hamburg MARKK — Museum am Rothenbaum, Kulturen und Künste der Welt, and the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig are involved in the initiative for Ethnological Collections. In the future, all three museums will pursue new paths in cooperation with source communities, in experimenting with new forms of museum presentations, in opening up to local urban societies, and in provenance research. As part of these initiative, the three ethnological museums each receive one million euros over a period of up to four years.