New Approaches to Islamic Art

Funded by the International Museum Fellowship Programme

Participative Processes in Redesigning the Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art is part of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and contains religious and secular objects, produced in various Islamic societies between the 7th and 19th century. In recent surveys, museum visitors have expressed increasing interest in learning more about the heritage of Muslim societies, as well as the contemporary manifestations of this culture. How are these historic objects related to the practice of Islam today?

In preparation for the new permanent exhibition, this project aimed to develop strategies for modern museum presentation which addresses the needs of various audience groups. It also intends to make the objects accessible to international visitors who come to the museum with urgent concerns regarding non-European cultures. The exhibition reopened in 2020 with approximately 3.000 qm of display space. As the only museum of reference for Islamic cultural history in the German-speaking region, it hopes to encourage discussion and enrich the current debates on social inter- and transculturality, collective self-rule, heteronomy and societal development.

The International Museum Fellowship programme

With this funding programme, the Federal Cultural Foundation enabled guest curators and researchers from abroad to work at museums or public collections in Germany for a duration of 18 months.

John-Paul Sumner, Fellow at the Museum für Islamische Kunst

John-Paul Sumner (Glasgow, Scotland) has a science background but became a radio producer for The BBC. In 1999 John-Paul helped to develop Scotland’s Glasgow Science Centre. The objective was to communicate complex science issues to a family audience. John-Paul was a Project Curator at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for a major refurbishment and re-display. His role was to engage new audiences and maximise access to the collections. He is particularly proud of the creation of a multimedia experience to improve confidence and self-esteem in young people. John Paul was an International Fellow at the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin. This role involved introducing an interpretation protocol for the permanent re-display of the museum in 2020.


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Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz Berlin
Museum für Islamische Kunst

10178 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)