In May 2015, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters presented the founding directors of the Humboldt Forum to the public: Neil MacGregor, Hermann Parzinger and Horst Bredekamp. In this role they take on overall curatorial responsibilities for the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
The most important task of the founding directors is to continue developing concepts for the contents of the Humboldt Forum on the basis of existing plans, while also determining the thematic emphases for the programme of exhibitions and events both in the lead-up to the museum’s opening and afterwards. A further goal is to intensify, develop and encourage thematic networking in the Humboldt Forum’s interaction with its three main actors: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz – Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin represented by the Ethnologisches Museum and Museum für Asiatische Kunst / Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin with the exhibition about Berlin / the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with the Humboldt Lab.
The founding directors are joining forces with the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss – the foundation tasked with realizing the project – and its Executive Board member responsible for culture, Lavinia Frey, who on 15 March 2016 was also appointed managing director of the Humboldt Forum Kultur GmbH, a company founded specifically to implement the programme of exhibitions and events.
“In the Humboldt Forum, collecting and research go hand in hand. By working with other collections and other academics, the close link between nature and culture becomes clear. The collections form the basis for an understanding of the interdependence of the world and allow us, in keeping with Humboldt’s ap-proach, to imagine and understand the world as a whole.”
Neil MacGregor studied philosophy, law and art history in Paris, Edinburgh, London and Oxford. He taught art history and architecture at the University of Reading and was the publisher of the Burlington Magazine in London until 1987. Subsequently, he served as director of the National Gallery in London. In 2002, he presided over the British Museum in London in the role of director. There he presented among other things the series, “A History of the World in 100 Objects”, accompanied by a corresponding exhibition and publication. In 2014, he curated the exhibition, “Germany – Memories of a Nation”, which is currently also on view in the Martin-Gropius-Bau under the title “The British View: Germany – Memories of a Nation”. In 2015, he was appointed head of the management committee of the future Humboldt Forum. He has received nu-merous awards as an art historian. Most recently, he was awarded the Friedrich Gundolf Prize, the German National Prize and the Goethe Medal in 2015.
“Museums have the potential to convey to people the concepts of tolerance and respect for other cultures. This is today perhaps the most important mission of the Humboldt Forum.”
Hermann Parzinger, born in 1959, studied pre- and early history, medieval his-tory and roman provincial archaeology in Munich, Saarbrücken and Ljubljana. In 1991, he was qualified as a professor in Munich and appointed as a lecturer. Since 1992, he has directed numerous excavations and discovered among other things important evidence of Scythian culture. From 2003 to 2008, Parzinger was president of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) and has been president of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz since 2008. He has received numerous awards, including the 1998 Leibniz Prize, and was admitted to the Order Pour le Mérite in 2012. He is also a member of several German and inter-national academies. In addition to academic publications, Parzinger has excited a broad readership for his subject with books such as “Die Kinder des Prome-theus” (The Children of Prometheus) or “Abenteuer Archäologie” (The Adventure of Archaeology).
“The universal perspective, the combination of collecting and research, the duty of public education and enjoyment: this interaction between palace, mu-seum, university and forum, practiced in the 18th and 19th centuries, also rep-resents the second-to-none model for the Humboldt Forum today. The future is in the past perfect!”
Horst Bredekamp earned a doctorate in art history in 1974 after studying in Kiel, Munich, Berlin and Marburg. Following a traineeship at Liebieghaus in Frankfurt, he worked as a research assistant and then began his professorship in art history at the University of Hamburg. A professor of art history at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 1993, he was also a permanent fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin from 2003 to 2013. Since 2013, he has been a spokesman for the “Bild Wissen Gestaltung” cluster of excellence, which is cur-rently showing the exhibition, “+ultra” in the Martin-Gropius-Bau as a test run for the Humboldt Forum. Recently, together with Peter-Klaus Schuster, he pub-lished the anthology, “Das Humboldt Forum” with the Wagenbach Verlag. He has received numerous awards, including admission into the Order Pour le Mé-rite, and has been appointed to four academies, most recently the American Academy for Arts and Sciences (2016).