University Collections

They are an inexhaustible resource and indispensable for research and education: About 1200 German university collections need to be preserved, so as to enable research in both historical and future academic fields.

Frau steht am Bücherregal und greift nach einem Buch; © Adobe Stock/WavebreakMediaMicro

Adobe Stock / WavebreakMediaMicro

University collections form part of the physical cultural heritage of academic studies. They serve as a research infrastructure for various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, as well as in the natural and technical sciences. Direct examination of the objects in the collection, as well as of the organising principles of the collections, help in answering academic questions or coming up with completely new ones. In order to enable the collections to contribute more effectively to the development, preservation, communication and accessibility of our cultural heritage, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the "Vernetzen – Erschließen – Forschen. Allianz für universitäre Sammlungen" (Networking – Development – Research. Alliance for University Collections) funding programme in 2015. 15 projects commenced between autumn 2016 and spring 2017.

The projects, some of which run until 2020, are as diverse as our cultural heritage: The spectrum ranges from special GDR modernist buildings to plant collections in university botanical gardens and even antique coin collections. The common denominator: Development and digitisation strategies make these valuable treasures visible and accessible.

The aim is to use the funding to provide an on-going impetus in areas such as collection management and development, collection digitisation, as well as conservation and restoration. This provides the collections with the opportunity to enter into alliances with non-university or intra-university cooperation partners who have a wide range of resources at their disposal. For example, they can look for partners who are able to advise and support them with digitisation or conservation issues, presentation techniques, inventories or teaching formats.