Museums, Collections & Conflict, 1500-2010

MGHG Biennial Conference 2018 Provisional Programme

13-14 July 2018, National Maritime Museum

Tickets can be purchased online here. For discounted conference tickets and access to the Museums History Journal, membership of the Museums and Galleries History Group can be purchased online here at a rate of £15 for students, £20 for individuals and £35 for institutions. MGHG Membership runs from 1 February to 1 February each year. 

MGHG members: £40 / non-members: £70 / MGHG student members: £25 / student non-members: £40

Friday 13 July 2018


9.30 – 10.00 – Registration and tea/coffee

10.00 – 10.10 – Introduction (Kate Hill, Chair of MGHG)

10.10 – 12.10 – Panel 1: New insights into the history of the Imperial War Museum

Chair: James Wallis (University of Essex) Discussant: James Taylor (IWM London)

  • James Wallis (University of Essex) – The Imperial War Museum’s First World War galleries – a space of conflict?
  • Anna Maguire (King’s College London) – Researching Colonial Experience in the Collections of the Imperial War Museums
  • Kasia Tomasiewicz (University of Brighton & IWM) – Methods in the Museum: Reflections on Positionality within the Imperial War Museum

12.10 – 13.10 – Lunch (not provided) – postgraduate students lunch session for pre-registered participants only

– selection of archival materials on view in Caird Library on history of the National Maritime Museum

13.10 – 14.40 – Panel 2: Museums in Wartime I: Protecting museums and objects

  • Anna Tulliach (University of Leicester) – Assessing the war issue at the Civic Museum of Bologna (1915-1945)
  • Zoé Vannier (École du Louvre) – Managing a collection "far from drums’ sound": The evacuation and management of the Near Eastern Antiquities department of the Louvre Museum during World War II
  • Eva March (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona) – The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and Catalan art museums

14.40 – 15.10 – Tea/Coffee

15.10 – 16.40 – Panel 3: Politics of curating and displaying war 

  • Quintin Colville (Royal Museums Greenwich) – Medals and masculinities: representing the First World War at sea through word and object
  • Bridget Yates (independent researcher) – ‘The present is pretty terrible, the future is unknown, the past is the only stable thing to which we can turn’: Philip Ashcroft, Rufford Village Museum and the preservation of rural life and tradition during the Second World War 
  • Zoe Mercer-Golden (Royal Museums Greenwich) – Treasure, Triumph and Trespass: Curatorial Challenges in the Collecting and Display of “Priam’s Treasure”

17.40 – 17.00 – Break

17.00 – 18.00 – Keynote lecture: Prof Geoff Quilley (University of Sussex)

  •  'Conflict, collecting and empire: the nineteenth-century world of the India Museum, London'

18.00 – 19.30 – Reception

Saturday 14 July


9.30 – 11.00 – Panel 4: Collecting during conflict

  • Simon Quinn (University of York) – British military antiquarianism and collecting during the campaign in Egypt, 1801 
  • Nicholas Badcott (SOAS) – Collecting on campaign in Mahdist Sudan 
  • Amanda Mason (IWM) – Collecting Contemporary Conflict at IWM

11.00 – 11.30 – Tea/coffee

11.30 – 13.00 – Panel 5: Museums in wartime II: Keeping museums going 

  • Catherine Pearson (Anglia Ruskin University) – ‘I knew what I wanted to do and just went ahead’: The experiences of museum staff during the Second World War 
  • Karin Müller-Kelwing (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden: Dresden State Art Collections) – Museum without objects? 
  • Evelien Scheltinga (research-curator) – Dutch museums during World War 2

13.00 – 14.00 – Lunch (not provided) 

14.00 – 14.30 – MGHG AGM

14.30 – 16.00 – Panel 6: History of War Museums

  • Jacqui Grainger (Royal United Services institute for Defence and Security Studies) – A Lost Museum: the RUSI Museum, 1831-1962 
  • Phil Deans (Newcaslte University) – From A Museum on the World’s Last War, To a Museum on the Two World Wars: Crisis Management and reinvention at the Imperial War Musuem, 1939 – 1946
  • Melanie Vandenbrouk (Royal Museums Greenwich) – Two world wars and art at the National Maritime Museum

Conference closes

Poster Presentations

  • Can a detention centre assist in knowing identity? Presenting conflicts amongst Taiwanese community in Jing-Mei Memorial Park by Wen-Yi Liu
  • War Stories: Trench Art at the Canadian War Museum by Sarafina Pagnotta
  • Maqdala 1868: Ethiopian Treasures at the V&A by Alexandra Jones
  • Lasting Wounds – Comparing treatment of World War One disablement by the Imperial War Museum and the Science Museum by Jenni Hunt
  • The Royal Air Force Museum: its development 1931 to 2003 by Peter Elliott, Curator Emeritus, Royal Air Force Museum
  • The video digital archive as a resource in conflicts research: cultural heritage in war video archive by Marta Ramos Marco
  • “Moving a museum”: the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan during WWI and WWII by Silvia Colombo
  • “Arsenals of Knowledge” for the Global Peace: U.S. Museums Envision the Postwar World, 1943-46 by Clarissa J. Ceglio
  • Sand, Rubble and Fine Arts: The Newly Digitized A. Sheldon Pennoyer Collection at Princeton University by Julia Gearhart
  • Collecting on the Front Lines: Vignettes from the Global War on Terror by Miranda Summers Lowe
  • Military Contemporary Art Complex: RAF Fylingdales as a site of cultural production by Michael Mulvihill


21 September

Inaugural Annual Lecture by Professor Ludmilla Jordanova


7-8 September 2016

Gendering Museum Histories Conference at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology


13 July 2015

Using Museum Archives Workshop at the British Museum


12 - 13 September 2014

Houses as Museums/Museums as Houses Conference at the Wallace Collection


2 March 2013

Between Art and Information: Collecting Photographs Study Day with the Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University

Link to the resulting Photographs, Museums, Collections: Between Art and Information publication


12-13 October 2012

Artists Work in the Museum: Histories, Interventions and Subjectivity Conference with the Victoria and Albert Museum

Download Programme


12-13 July 2012

Cultures of Curating: Curatorial Practices and the Production of Meaning c. 1650-2000 Conference at the University of Lincoln

Download Programme

Link to the resulting special issue of Museums History Journal


21 May 2011

Lost Museums Study Day at the Hunterian Museum

Download Programme


10-11 September 2010

Museums and the Market Conference at Leeds City Museum

Conference Programme

Conference Report


11-12 September 2009

Museums and Biographies Conference at the National Gallery

Download Programme

Link to the resulting publication Museums and Biographies: Stories, Objects, Identities


6-8 September 2007

Nature Behind Glass: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on Natural Science Collections Conference at Manchester Museum

Link to the resulting special issue of Museum and Society


7-8 September 2006

Past and Present: Negotiating Museum and Gallery History Conference at Newcastle University

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18 July 2003

Museums and their Histories Inaugural Conference at the National Gallery

Download Programme