Teyler’s museum in Haarlem


From the Google cache.

Teyler’s museum in Haarlem

Date: 8/28/05 at 11:16PM

Mood: Looking Playing: I’m a little dinosaur, by Jonathan Richman

Teyler’s museum in Haarlem is the oldest museum in The Netherlands accessible to the public; and one of the oldest in the world.

For instance, the Louvre in Paris became a museum later, on 8 november 1793.

Though the Louvre building has an earlier history as a royal palace.

The first museum in China is from 1905.

The Peshawar museum in Pakistan is from 1906.

Many exhibits at Teyler’s museum are still as they were originally in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; so giving visitors an idea not just of fossils or ancient Dutch, Italian, etc. paintings; but of how in the history of museums these used to be exhibited as well.

It was founded in the eighteenth century by Pieter Teyler van der Hulst.

He was a rich textile merchant. Originally, his family name had been Taylor: he was of Scottish ancestry.

Teyler and people around him belonged to a minority Protestant church: the Doopsgezinden (Anabaptist, Mennonite, or Baptist); which meant they were excluded from political office.

They were part of the Dutch Enlightenment movement of the eighteenth century.

They thought religious truth should not be based on the authority of the pope of Rome; or of the synod of the Dutch Calvinist Reformed established church; but on research in science and artists’ work.

Today still, there are statues of figures representing both Science and Art on the museum’s roof; and both art and science are represented in its collections.

The museum was expanded in the nineteenth century by an Austrian classicist architect; so it looks somewhat like museums in Vienna.

Fossils and creationists

As one enters, the theme of the first halls is fossils.

They include plants; a plesiosaur; an ichthyosaur; a mesosaur; and a mammoth.

Andrias scheuchzeri, salamander fossil

Perhaps the most famous fossil of Teyler’s museum is Andrias scheuchzeri.

It was first described in the early eighteenth century by Swiss physician Johann Jacob Scheuchzer.

Scheuchzer believed in the literal truth of the Bible.

He presumed he had found the skeleton of a human, drowned by God for his sins in the Great Flood described in the Bible; thus disproving beginning skepticism on the historical truth of that Flood.

Scheuchzer’s supporters were called Diluvians.

The fossil inspired a poem, in a 1731 book by Scheuchzer:

Sad bony remains of an old sinner;
Melt rock, and hearts of the new children of evil!

However, the paradox of Scheuchzer and the Diluvians was that they ultimately inspired skepticism.

More and more people doubted whether the Andrias scheuchzeri fossil skeleton in Teyler’s museum was really human.

In 1811, the leading palaeontologist of that time, Georges Cuvier, dug deeper at Teyler’s exhibit, proving it was a salamander. Also about Cuvier: here.

A some millions year old giant salamander, related to present giant salamanders of East Asia, and more distantly, to the hellbender of North America.

Andrias scheuchzeri lived in Germany till about three million years ago.

This way, Cuvier dealt a death-blow to the Diluvians’ belief in the literal truth of the Bible (Cuvier, however, opposed pre Darwin evolution theories with a not very tenable “catastrophe theory”).

One may compare Scheuchzer’s Diluvians to the creationists of today.

However, eighteenth century Diluvians can at least be said to have stimulated the study of the then new subject of fossils; while today’s creationists are anti science.

More fossils

Among the fossil collection at Teyler’s is a copy of the infamous Piltdown man falsification.

It was made, and believed to be authentic, in an England jealous of Neanderthal and other fossil human finds of Germany and elsewhere, while not having found human fossils of its own.

Another fossil in Teyler’s is the earliest find of Archaeopteryx, world’s earliest fossil bird from the Jurassic.

Only in 1970 the museum found out that their exhibit, misidentified earlier as a flying reptile, was an Archaeopteryx; as its feathers were not imprinted clearly and somewhat difficult to see.

Crystals, volcanoes, and art

The museum also has the biggest antimonite crystal in the world: 72 cm high, originally from Japan.

Right now, there is an exhibition on volcanoes. In Teyler’s style, they have not only scientists on volcanoes. Also artists, like Japanese Hokusai’s works on Fuji-san volcano.

On 6 October, a new exhibition will start: drawings by Michelangelo.

The museum today also contributes to international conservation of old masters’ works.

Many old drawings, from the eighth to the twentieth century, were made with gaul nut ink, or iron-gallus ink.

These ultimately destroy paper and the drawings on it.

The museum is working at a method to fight this.

An eminent 18th century physician in Germany was embarrassed by colleagues who sought to discredit him through a hoax. Read more at Suite101: Professional Jealousy Leads to Fake Fossils: here.

14 thoughts on “Teyler’s museum in Haarlem

  1. Scotsman Tue 6 Sep 2005

    Breakthrough in fight to save historic papers

    RICHARD SADLER

    SOME of civilisation’s greatest artefacts – including Beethoven’s manuscripts and the original drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo – can now be saved for future generations, thanks to a breakthrough by scientists.

    Tens of thousands of priceless hand-drawn or hand-written documents held in museums and galleries around the world are slowly disintegrating because the original inks used contain corrosive acid.

    However, a team of European chemists and art historians have developed a technique which should preserve documents and drawings. The breakthrough was reported yesterday at the British Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Dublin by Dr Jana Konar, of the National Library of Slovenia.

    Dr Konar and colleagues in Germany and Holland carried out a three-year trial, during which books and other documents have been placed in a sealed chamber, then saturated with solvent-based alkalines and anti-oxidants.

    “We have shown we can prolong the lifespan of paper containing corrosive inks by more then ten times,” Dr Konar said.

    “When this process is available on the market – I think in about a year – we will start manufacturing on a large scale.”

  2. Pingback: Giant salamander fossil discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Audubon’s Birds of America, other old books, online | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Piltdown Man hoax, 1912 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Marine life of the North Sea | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Will Detroit museum’s art be sold off? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. The Masses and the Muses, transformatie van Teylers Museum

    Aan het einde van de achttiende en het begin van de negentiende eeuw was Teylers Museum het belangrijkste onderzoeksinstituut van ons land voor kunsten en wetenschappen. In de twintigste eeuw werd zelfs ‘s werelds meest toonaangevende fysicus, de Leidse hoogleraar Hendrik Antoon Lorentz aangetrokken. Promovendus Martin Weiss schreef zijn proefschrift over de transformatie van het achttiende-eeuwse onderzoeksinstituut in het huidige publieksmuseum.

    Martin Weiss

    Martin Weiss’ proefschrift ‘The Masses and the Muses’ beschrijft hoe Teylers Museum in Haarlem transformeerde van een achttiende-eeuws instituut voor kunsten en wetenschappen in het huidige publieksmuseum. Het onderzoek is vooral gebaseerd op de rijke archieven van het museum. Het project is gefinancierd door de Teylers Stichting, eigenaar van Teylers Museum.

    Woensdag 27 november verdedigt Weiss zijn proefschrift.

    De transformatie
    De zogenaamde Eerste Schilderijenzaal op een tekening uit 1864

    Eind achttiende eeuw was het museum onder Martinus van Marum het belangrijkste onderzoeksinstituut van ons land, en een van de belangrijkste van Europa. Buitenlandse bezoekers kwamen zich hier vergapen aan de reusachtige elektriseermachine.

    In de 19de eeuw kregen de wetenschappelijke collecties onder invloed van de groeiende nadruk op de kunstcollecties steeds meer een publieksfunctie. Anders gezegd, ze musealiseerden. Daardoor werd de band tussen laboratorium en museum steeds losser, en daarmee tevens die tussen onderzoek en de collecties.

    Het oudste gedeelte van Teylers Museum, de ‘Ovale Zaal’

    Zelfs het aantrekken in het begin van de 20ste eeuw van ‘s werelds meest toonaangevende fysicus, de Leidse hoogleraar Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, kon de oorspronkelijke rol van het museum als samenhangend centrum van kennisproductie en cultuur niet duurzaam bestendigen. Wat rest is een uniek museum dat blijvend de oude Verlichtingsidealen uitdraagt.

    http://science.leidenuniv.nl/index.php/faculteit/newsitem/the_masses_and_the_muses_transformatie_van_teylers_museum/

  8. Pingback: US Vertebrate Paleontologists Blast Creation Museum | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Why giant deer became extinct | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Audubon’s Birds of America exhibition in Haarlem | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Butterflies and paintings in Teyler’s museum | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Linnaeus, Buffon, and classification in biology | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: US religious Right’s junk science, including on fossil kangaroos | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Audubon’s Birds of America in Teyler’s Museum in Haarlem | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s