Pieter Teyler van der Hulst died in 1778 and, in his will, he specified that his collection and capital had to be used for the promotion of art and science. For this purpose, a foundation was set up with five directors who had to manage the money for the specified purpose, including the gathering of knowledge. At that time, most knowledge was reserved for universities and the clergy only. In Haarlem however, there was no university and the clergy only had limited power. Haarlem was therefore the ideal location to inform the people about science and art. In the following centuries, Teyler's Museum bought thousands of pieces in the fields of fossils, minerals, paintings, drawings, coins/medals, and instruments to show scientific discoveries, but books were the best sources of knowledge. In that age, books were real pieces of art where art and the sciences were brought together, to make showing and describing the discoveries possible. The first purchase with Pieter Teyler's money was the purchase of an encyclopaedia.
Presentation and tour
Wikipedia and the Teyler's Museum both have the same goal: to collect knowledge and make this knowledge available for the public. With this background, a partnership between both institutes has been organized to use the benefits of each. To kick-off of this partnership, Wikimedia Nederland and the Teyler's Museum organized on 21 January a tour with a view behind the scenes of the oldest museum in the Netherlands. After a plenary presentation by Marjan Scharloo (the director of the Teyler's Museum) and Ziko van Dijk (president of Wikimedia Nederland), the writing contest The Teylers Challenge was announced. Then the audience was divided into seven groups, each led through the different parts of the museum, with a guide explaining the pieces held in those sections. Afterwards, a New Year reception was held by the chapter at the Grote Markt.
Teylers and Wikipedia
With this presentation and tour, The Teylers Challenge was presented: an international writing contest on Wikipedia about subjects that are linked to the Teyler's Museum. The articles may be written in any language, about a wide spectrum of subjects, and there is only one condition to participate: on the article there must be a blue link to the article of the Teyler's Museum in that language. This means that if the museum article doesn't yet exist in that language, it must be created (and that article can be part of the contest as well). The Teyler's Museum offers us images and information on the relevant topics. Information about some of the topics can be found on their website ( Teyler's Museum | Teylers Universe ). The museum will also respond to requests for information or images to be obtained for articles on Wikipedia. These requests can be put on w:en:Wikipedia:GLAM/Teylers/One on one collaborations (in English or Dutch). The writing contest runs until May 2012 and there are prizes to be won, made available by the Teyler's Museum.
The ideals of Pieter Teyler in the 18th century match with the ideals of Wikipedia today. Let's take up the challenge and enrich Wikipedia on the fields of art and science, and share this information with the world.