Aims: The project aimed to develop a comparative critique of approaches to universal histories in museums and of the role of museums in building knowledge about the future.

Methodology: The project combined critical investigation of universal histories and universal museums through three workshops – two in Paris and one in London – plus two historical case studies, based in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Musée du quai Branly.

Outputs: Reports on workshops, an international conference in Paris, a digital exhibition, a co-edited collection Universal Histories & Universal Museums: A Transnational Comparison, and a book chapter, ‘Universal Histories, Universal Exhibitions and Universal Museums: Henry Cole and the Legacies of the South Kensington Museum’ by Sandra Kemp and Hervé Inglebert. Over the course of the project, we blogged regularly about our activities and research progress.

Who we are: The project was led by Prof Sandra Kemp (Director, The Ruskin – Library, Museum and Research Centre, Lancaster University and Visiting Professor, Imperial College London), Prof Hervé Inglebert (Université Paris Nanterre), and André Delpuech (Musée de l’Homme), assisted by postdoctoral researcher Chiara Zuanni (V&A). The research was jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past’ and the LABEX ‘Pasts in the Present’ programmes.