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Collecting contemporary science, technology and medicine.

Alberti, Samuel J.M.M.; Cox, Elsa; Phillipson, Tacye; Taubman, Alison


Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

Elsa Cox

Tacye Phillipson

Alison Taubman


Museums are often associated exclusively with bygones. This can be problematic, especially for those who manage science, technology and medicine (STM) collections. In seeking to correct this misconception with contemporary collecting, they also face other problems, especially in scale and complexity. While acknowledging such challenges, this opinion piece proposes opportunities afforded by the material culture of recent STM. Contemporary material can be used to tell stories as well as explain technicalities; it can connect with visitors using everyday objects and put 'difficult' material into context. Against the backdrop of practice and publications from across the sector, we present examples from the redisplay at the National Museum of Scotland in 2016, and from our current collecting initiatives. We thereby bring our perspective on the current state-of-play in STM collecting to the attention of the wider museum sector, drawing scattered practices together and weaving in our own. This is a text only version of the article, to see the full images please go to the publisher website.


ALBERTI, S.J.M.M., COX, E., PHILLIPSON, T. and TAUBMAN, A. 2018. Collecting contemporary science, technology and medicine. Museum management and curatorship [online], 33(5), pages 402-427. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 22, 2018
Publication Date Oct 31, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 23, 2020
Journal Museum management and curatorship
Print ISSN 0964-7775
Electronic ISSN 1872-9185
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 5
Pages 402-427
Keywords Collecting; Contemporary; Science; Technology and medicine; National Museums Scotland
Public URL


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