What challenges are museums likely to face in the future? Are museums still best suited as venues for exhibiting, documenting, presenting and archiving collections, as well as initiating interaction between the viewer and the object? In view of globalisation, answering such questions has taken on an international dimension. For example, what consequences can we draw from the fact that collections frequently have a strong European and North American cultural orientation? What role do digitalisation and the possibilities of virtual reality play with respect to new models, methods and structures in museums? With a four-part international conference series titled “Museal Episode”, the Goethe-Institut and the Federal Cultural Foundation wished to promote the exchange of ideas and encourage participants to develop new concepts and projects for museums.

The day after the museum

Museal episodes on the global future of museums

All museums have been destroyed; everything, every collection has disappeared: A group of curators and museum directors from Africa, South America and Europe found themselves in a dystopian scenario and set out to discuss the issues at stake: if and how to rebuild museums and collections from scratch. Under these new circumstances, what would be exhibited, who would be the audience, what would be the objective? How would the museum of the future look like?

A performative symposium of the Goethe-Institut São Paulo and the German Federal Cultural Foundation with Marion Ackermann, Zdenka Badovinac, Övül Durmusoglu, Yilmaz Dziewior, Marina Fokidis, Anna-Catharina Gebbers, Matthias Mühling, Gabi Ngcobo, Luiza Proença , Marcelo Rezende who have continuously met over the last three years as part of the project “Museal Episodes” to discuss about the global future of museums.

Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, Berlin
September 6, 2018; 6 – 9.30 pm

Museale Episode - Meeting in Bahia A series of symposiums by the Goethe-Institut and the Federal Cultural Foundation on the global future of museums

Meeting in Bahia (Salvador/ Brazil)

To this end, 17 internationally renowned museum directors and curators from Brazil and other countries were invited to the Museum of Modern Art in Bahia (Salvador, Brazil) from 14 to 17 October 2015. Marcelo Rezende, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Bahia, hosted the first “Museum Episode” based on the slogan “Bring Your Museum to My Museum”. You can read the participants’ reports here.

Meeting in La Paz and Santa Cruz (Bolivia)

The discussion during the second meeting at the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz (Bolivia) from 29 April to 3 May 2016 focused on the following questions: How will museums work with their collections in the future? Are museums increasingly becoming hybrid institutions? How democratic can a museum be and how can it avoid colonial perspectives? How can museums integrate their local communities into their activities?

3rd symposium in Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa)

The third symposium, developed by the South African curator Gabi Ngcobo and held in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 24 to 29 January 2017, examined the role that art museums and commemorative sites have been assigned in addressing the history of apartheid and colonialism. How can museums adequately reflect on and overcome the history of apartheid when it remains inscribed in their collections, exhibitions and educational activities to this day? What function should art museums in South Africa have today? Which artists are collected and who get to decide? And not least of all, who is represented by the museums and who shapes their future?

4th symposium in Athens

The fourth and last symposium on “Museum Episodes” took place in Athens from 11 to 17 July 2017 parallel to the documenta 14. Developed by curator Marina Fokidis, the conference was based on the motto “Digging into the future” and examined the relationship between archaeology and contemporary art.



Elvira Espejo | National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore (La Paz)
Gabi Ngcobo | artist and freelance curator (Johannesburg)
Klaus Görner | Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt)
Luiza Proença | São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP)
Marina Fokidis | Kunsthalle Athena
Marion Ackermann | Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Düsseldorf)
Marcelo Rezende | Museum of Modern Art in Bahia (Salvador)
Matthias Mühling | Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich)
Nydia Gutierrez | Museo de Antioquia (Medellin)
Övül Durmusoglu | freelance curator (Istanbul/Berlin)
Pablo Lafuente | freelance curator (São Paulo)
Victoria Noorthoorn | Museum of Modern Art (Buenos Aires)
Yilmaz Dziewior | Museum Ludwig (Cologne)
Zdenka Badovinac | Moderna Galerija (Ljubljana).

Mu­seum Global ?

The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin wish to address the complex subject of “globalism” and the challenges it brings. With their project “museum global?” they scrutinise modernity and the canon upon which it is based.

Learn more about the project


  • Events


    The day after the museum

    Museal episodes on the global future of museums - a performative symposium

    Akademie der Künste | Hanseatenweg 10 | Berlin


Uta Schnell
Kulturstiftung des Bundes

Franckeplatz 2
06110 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: +49 (0)345 2997 118
Fax.: +49 (0)345 2997 333