Professor Dr. Mark A. Meadow

Alfried Krupp Senior Fellow 

  • Born in Billings, Montana, USA 
  • Study of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley 
  • Professor for History and Theory of Museums and Collections at the University of Leiden (Netherland) and Professor at the Institute for History of Art & Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA) 

Fellow project: "Microcosms: University Collections and the Invisible Economy of Knowledge"

As institutions that lay claim to the broadest possible range of disciplines, universities acquire, produce and collect things in vast numbers and in great variety. University-owned objects and collections are crucial to the core missions of the university — research and teaching — as well as the safeguarding of academic, cultural and scientific heritage, preserving institutional memory, providing outreach to the general public and servicing the economic and political sectors. Despite their critical centrality to the work of the university, surprisingly little is known about the phenomenon of university material collections (as distinguished from research done on artifacts in these collections) or about how material objects are used to produce, store and disseminate knowledge within the academy. Based on nearly ten years of research at the University of California and Leiden University, and now at Greifswald University, this project seeks to provide a framework for understanding the processes by which university collections come into being, continually transform, and shape, facilitate (and at times constrain) the current work of the university.  The particular themes of this project are: the starting conditions of universities and their collections; university collections as an ‘invisible’ economy of knowledge; material collections, university disciplines and the multiplicity of value systems; cyclical disciplines and the rise and fall (and rise) of natural history collections; the relationship of university collections and public museums; and the implications of this research for university policy and planning.