Project: Museums and Industry: Long Histories of Collaboration

Acronym MaILHOC
Project Topic The starting point of Museums and Industry: Long Histories of Collaboration (MaILHoC) is that museums of science, technology, and medicine (STM heritage) are in a state of upheaval. STM heritage is a child of the industrial revolution; it would not have existed without the patronage of industry. But processes of deindustrialisation, concerns about human impacts on the environment, and the influence of ideas like the degrowth movement, have turned this relationship into a source of controversy. Why does it seem that this long history has only recently been considered unethical? By examining this phenomenon, MaILHoC responds directly to the challenge to ‘explore the relationship between cultural heritage, democratic values, and politics in a historic perspective.’ It examines how and by whom narratives about cultural heritage are produced, used, and communicated in different contexts. To date, while there have been studies of the industrial patronage of the sciences, there is almost nothing on the industrial patronage of STM heritage. MaILHoC addresses this substantial lacuna by examining case studies from France, Spain, and the UK. Drawing on this analysis we will: (i) describe historical attitudes towards industrial patronage; (ii) explore the actual or likely consequences of new approaches; (iii) explore the implicit normativity of existing practices, and (iv) analyse the institutionalisation of ethics in STM heritage. MaILHoC’s consortium of universities, museums and publishers will disseminate a range of interdisciplinary research outputs through a wide variety of scholarly, public and media channels. While ethical dilemmas cannot ever be finally resolved, MaILHoC will both generate new understandings and build our social capabilities for a better informed, and more participative deliberation of the relationships between STM heritage and its industrial patrons. Keywords: sponsorship; industry; ethics; science museums; World Expositions
Network JPI Cultural Heritage
Call Cultural Heritage, Society and Ethics

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Science Museum Group Coordinator United Kingdom
2 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Partner Spain
3 Aix-Marseille Université Partner France