The Museum as Knowledge Environment

  • Brent Nelson University of Saskatchewan


Early modern cabinets of curiosities (precursors of the modern museum) were sites for collecting and generating object-centred knowledge in the early days of empiricism, but they were equally dependent on text-based ways of knowing and disseminating knowledge. These collections thus provide an important historical point of reference for thinking about the possibilities of new knowledge environments for representing cultural heritage objects on the Web, which presents new possibilities for textual and visual representation. After elaborating the historical context of early modern collections as knowledge environments, this paper concludes with some principles for representing cultural heritage objects to support scholarship in the humanities.

Author Biography

Brent Nelson, University of Saskatchewan
Brent Nelson is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan, 105 Administration Place, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5A2. Email: