The Salzdahlum cabinets, Martin Luther’s spoon and a tellurium are just some of the things owned by the Herzog August Bibliothek that have hitherto been largely disregarded parts of the collection. These objects and the other items explored in this project are all indicative of a knowledge deficit, and they show the need to take a closer look at the periphery of our collection’s history. Why were these objects purchased, used, kept and forgotten, and why have they now been rediscovered?

The project pursues two paths that together are intended to form a basis for further investigation of hitherto neglected objects. On the one hand, looking at the margins should shed new light on the history of the Herzog August Bibliothek collection and examine and question historical and current collection practices. On the other, the aim is to carry out in-depth cataloguing of the objects themselves, in some cases using technological art analysis. This project will thereby help to understand the history of the collection and also be a specific object- and material-based contribution to current research themes in material culture studies. The object histories will be published as part of a volume of essays.

Funding: Pro*Niedersachsen

Duration: February 2024­–December 2026

Project participants: Dr Elizabeth Harding, Dr Daniela Wagner, Luisa Niederprüm (WHK)

Contact: ed.ba1721777415h@etk1721777415ejbot1721777415rednu1721777415h1721777415


Title image: Tellurium, 17th century (?) with newer parts. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel