Collecting contemporary science, technology and medicine



Alberti SJMM, Cox E, Phillipson T & Taubman A (2018) Collecting contemporary science, technology and medicine. Museum Management and Curatorship, 33 (5), pp. 402-427.

Museums are often associated exclusively with bygones. This can be problematic, especially for those who manage science, technology and medicine (STM) collections. In seeking to correct this misconception with contemporary collecting, they also face other problems, especially in scale and complexity. While acknowledging such challenges, this opinion piece proposes opportunities afforded by the material culture of recent STM. Contemporary material can be used to tell stories as well as explain technicalities; it can connect with visitors using everyday objects and put ‘difficult’ material into context. Against the backdrop of practice and publications from across the sector, we present examples from the redisplay at the National Museum of Scotland in 2016, and from our current collecting initiatives. We thereby bring our perspective on the current state-of-play in STM collecting to the attention of the wider museum sector, drawing scattered practices together and weaving in our own.

Collecting; contemporary; science, technology and medicine; National Museums Scotland

Museum Management and Curatorship: Volume 33, Issue 5

FundersNational Museums Scotland
Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online22/07/2018
Date accepted by journal30/06/2018

People (1)


Dr Samuel Alberti

Dr Samuel Alberti

Honorary Professor, History