‘Visual Histories’ Science Visualization in Nineteenth-Century Natural History Museums

Stefanie Jovanovic-Kruspel


This article attempts to shed light on the complex interdependencies between science, art and popular visual culture in the context of nineteenth-century natural history museums. Natural history museums are still underestimated agents for (artistic) scientific visualizations. Built as ‘visual narrators’ they became a form of mass media that conveyed scientific knowledge to diverse audiences. This article is a first attempt to bring order into the broad field of science visualization and to describe its significance for the popularization of the natural sciences. The visual outreach of museums such as the Natural History Museum Vienna went far beyond their circle of visitors. By creating and presenting first rank artistic imaginaries, they inspired highly circulated teaching devices such as school wall charts, textbooks or models, thus influencing our collective visual memory. These images subconsciously shaped the way we perceive the world as it is and as it could have been. 


architecture. natural history museums, science popularisation, europe, Vienna, Austria,

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v17i3.3234

Copyright (c) 2019 Stefanie Jovanovic-Kruspel

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Museum and Society

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