Glass is an emphatically interdisciplinary research project. It is based on the cooperation between Justus Liebig University Gießen and TU Bergakademie Freiberg with the Arnstadt Castle Museum in Thuringia as third cooperation partner. Our research focuses on historical glass objects that were produced, traded, purchased and used between 1600 and 1800 by the counts and princes of Schwarzburg in Thuringia. Glass thus prompts a productive “trialogue” between the humanities, museum studies and natural sciences.
26.–28. März 2020 Klausurtagung
21.–23. November 2019 Konferenz
Method & Material
Glass identifies, opens up, photographs and documents historical glass objects from the museum’s holdings and arranges them in accordance with formal and stylistic categories. In a second step, the objects’ chemical composition is non-invasively examined with the aid of a UV-VIS spectrometer and by a Raman spectrometer. At the same time, the contexts of origins and use are being researched on the basis of archival sources. The team is in regular contact so that museological, scientific and cultural-historical results constantly revise each other.
The basic recipe of glass consisted and still consists of sand, lime and sodium (silicon dioxide, calcium oxide and sodium oxide). Different glass colours evolved in the early modern period through the contamination of the basic materials or the deliberate addition of metals such as iron, copper or gold. All components had to be obtained and, after extensive preparations (cleaning, crushing, sieving), were mixed together and melted into glass at 1600 degrees at glassworks.
The glass team consists of experts from diverse disciplines, including cultural history, social and economic history, art history, museology, history of knowledge and of collecting (with a focus on the early modern period) as well as on material knowledge and material science. All project members have both academic and museum experience. Glass is supervised and directed by Annette C. Cremer (JLU Gießen).