Scharloo M. Teyler’s Museum: Past and Future
Haarlem, the Netherlands
ABSTRACT. Teyler’s Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands, opened its doors to the public in 1784. It was named after Pieter Teyler, a successful entrepreneur and banker, who lived in Haarlem between 1702 and 1778. His ancestors had fled from England for religious reasons in the early seventeenth century and the family had made its fortune in the silk production and trade. As a man of the world with a lot of international contacts, especially in Britain, he became very interested in the Enlightenment ideals. Teyler left his fortune to the Foundation which had to help the poor, study religion in a free society and encourage arts and sciences for the general benefit. The word ‘museum’ is not mentioned in the will, but it was clear to Teyler’s friends that his ideals were directed towards the founding of a mouseion. Nowadays the term museum is associated with a certain archetype of a building, a more or less standardized layout of collections and information about objects. Teyler’s does not fit in this archetypal picture. Are people visiting a history of science museum? An art museum? A Wunderkammer? Or a museum of the museums?
KEYWORDS: Teyler’s Museum, Pieter Teyler, history of science museum, art museum, Wunderkammer, museum of the museums, Museum of Wonder