The Dutch Foundation for Academic Heritage is a partner in the Erasmus Plus project: Teaching With Objects.

The academic heritage objects that are kept and cared for in our museums, archives, and libraries have a great potential to enrich teaching and learning in higher education. Surprise, wonder, awe, curiosity, and sometimes shock: are emotions and reactions object interactions can elicit among students. Teaching with objects enables them to engage deeply and creates profound and meaningful learning experiences. Using university collections in the classroom can also provide a concrete and tangible view of the place and role of universities in society through time. It is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of university collections, often unknown and unapproachable for students and teaching staff. Moreover, in recent years, the material and digital turn has led to the emergence of new object-based practices all over the world in research, teaching, participation, citizen science and public engagement.

The objective of this project is to promote and support innovative object-based teaching practices in higher education by collecting, evaluating, enhancing, and sharing methods, tools, and recipes for teaching with academic heritage objects with a focus on digital and hybrid didactic situations. We enhance collected practices, tools, and methodologies through a process of analysis and testing, before making them accessible for a broad audience of teachers, students and researchers by building a sustainable online toolbox for object-based teaching. In addition, we identify and build a network of actors involved in object-based teaching and their needs to explore the opportunities and challenges of teaching with objects in the digital age.

In doing so, this project aims to further develop and enhance object-based teaching while creating a wider awareness and knowledge of such innovative practices in higher education, for all disciplines and on a transdisciplinary level. We aim to foster innovation by using digital workflows and by facilitating knowledge about and access to digital and hybrid methods and tools. This will also initiate and stimulate a lively and continuing discussion of modern and innovative ways to teach and learn with objects and contribute to the valorization of academic collections and museums in research, participation, and public engagement and strengthen international professional networks.

This three years project started in March 2022. The SAE is one of the applicants for the project, along with the University of Strasbourg, Humboldt University Berlin, University of Padua, University Museum Ghent, and Things That Talk. The SAE is responsible for coordinating project result 1: ‘Reflecting and Collecting’, which collects and evaluates the best practices of object-based teaching with academic collections. This phase also provides ‘guidelines’ to develop and test the innovative online toolbox.