Museums and the (loss of) the encyclopedic ideal:
An international conference about art, science, religion, aesthetics and visual cultures in museums

On April 20, 21 and 22 of this year, Teyler’s Museum in Haarlem is hosting a two-day conference about museums and the loss of the encyclopedic ideal in the 19th and 20th centuries, taking its venue, a well-preserved 18th century museum as our point of reference.

About the conference

The conference will deal with the question of how the relationship between science and religion, between the visual cultures of art and science, and between religion, ethics and aesthetics has changed over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, and how this affected each of these categories? How did such categories as ‘science’, ‘art’ and ‘the public’ emerge in this process? How did the universal scientist give way to the modern expert? How did research and pedagogy get disentangled?
What meanings were attached to the word ‘museum’ and how did these change over time? To what extent can we speak of the creation of clear
and meaningful boundaries in this process of differentiation and to what extent is the change merely cosmetic? And last but not least: do we witness a fading of such boundaries again today?

Conference fee

The regular fee for the conference is €50. Students can apply for a free ticket by sending an e-mail to Gerda Doorlag ( with a copy of their student card.


You may register for the conference at (short URL)

More information

Information and updates posted on the website of Teyler’s Museum: (short URL:
You may address any questions to Ilja Nieuwland at Teyler’s Museum:; tel. +31 623407807.


The conference ‘Museums and (the loss of) the encyclopedic ideal, 1785-2016’ takes place with the financial support of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, Teyler’s Museum, Teylers Stichting and the Louise Thijssen-Schoute Foundation.