BILAD Network Meeting: Munich 2022

At the beginning of July 2022, the first BILAD meeting in presence could finally take place in Munich. Three days of constructive discussions, nice talks, exciting excursions and good food awaited the network members. 

On the first day (Wednesday, 06.07.22), we again focused intensively on the topic of authenticity. After an input by Stephan Schwan, we came together in small groups and discussed the institution-specific perspectives of authenticity on the basis of central questions, from the perspectives of science centres and science and technology museums, natural history museums, memorial sites and art museums. In the subsequent presentation of the group results and the plenary discussion, we were able to discover that there are both some similarities and numerous differences between the institutions with regard to the topic of authenticity. These results will finally be elaborated in a joint publication. The first evening of the meeting was spent in good weather, with delicious food and a glass of wine at an Italian restaurant.

On Thursday morning (07.07.22), BILAD network member Michael Gorman invited us to the BIOTOPIA LAB and offered us the first exciting excursion of our meeting. A bird flight simulator, sneakers made of mushroom leather, previously undescribed insect species and much more gave a preview of what visitors can expect in the planned BIOTOPIA Natural History Museum. In an interesting brief presentation, Michael Gorman also introduced us to the concept, the mission statement and the challenges for the future museum. For the rest of the programme on Thursday afternoon, we returned to the inner-city campus of TUM. Gretchen Simms presented her work at MUSEUM BOOSTER in her keynote and spoke on the question of how digitality can drive the museum of tomorrow. We then turned to the next main BILAD topic: the conceptualisation of learning in informal learning spaces – a topic that again provided much room for discussion. Doris Lewalter gave a short introduction to the topic and then BILAD members Inga Specht, Peter Gerjets, Anne Land, Martin Storksdieck and Maria Xanthoudaki had the opportunity to present their expert views. The following discussion highlighted the breadth of the topic and the need to agree on common terms and definitions for further work in the network. After a short sightseeing tour led by BILAD member Christian Kuchler, this input-rich second day of the conference was rounded off in a Bavarian restaurant.

Friday (08.07.22) also started with an excursion: BILAD network member Lorenz Kampschulte offered us the opportunity to take a look at the new exhibitions at the Deutsches Museum before the official opening to the public. In a guided tour we got an impression of the exhibitions on chemistry, health as well as agriculture and nutrition, for example. The richness of information, the diversity of the collection objects and the spectrum of different exhibition designs was very impressive and aroused our interest in further visits to the Deutsches Museum. In the subsequent closing session, we discussed the further short- and long-term steps and goals of the network. A joint lunch formed the end of the meeting.

Overall, the meeting was a complete success and characterised by a nice and constructive atmosphere. We thank everyone for their participation and look forward to the next meeting in Tübingen.