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Prof. Dr. Ruth


"World history is shipping history. Without the possibility of moving on the seas, global interconnections that shape our lives to this day would be unimaginable. At the DSM, we look at history, present and future from the ocean perspective. This change is fascinating and makes us unique as a museum, but also as a humanities research institute in Germany."

Current position

Managing Director

Field of research
Communication of museum-related history of science

Research communication in the museum, political cultural history and history of science early modern times, maritime history (16th-20th century) 

current projects
Scientific co-coordinator of the BMBF-funded joint project 'KartenMeere' (together with the University of Erfurt/ Research Center Gotha).ship models as historical knowledge repositories (management).

Knowledge on the move (management)

SAW project Digital Materialities (project management).

"Per APP to the museum for all?" (project management)

"Basic and contextual research on Norddeutscher Lloyd as a big player in German colonialism: maritime infrastructures and collector networks"(research project, funded by the Zentrum für Kulturgutverluste, project management)

"Cocoa, Coffee, Tobacco - Intoxicants in the Past", a HERA project.

Scientific Focus
Political Cultural History
History of knowledge
Material Culture
Museum and exhibition


Photo: DSM


Prof. Dr. Ruth Schilling

+49 471  48 207 833

Curriculum Vitae


2022                                            Scientific Head


Continuation of the W1 professorship as W2 professorship "Communication of museum-related history of science (Univ. Bremen) in connection with the program area management "Shipping and Society" (research and exhibition) at the German Maritime Museum/ Leibniz Institute of Maritime History


Visiting senior fellow Trinity Hall (Univ. of Cambridge, UK)


Positive evaluation of the junior professorship (habilitation-equivalent performance

since 2016

Lecturer at the Institute of Historical Sciences (University of Oldenburg)

since 2014

W1-Professor on "Communication of museum-related history of science" (University of Bremen) in connection with scientific exhibition and research coordination at the German Maritime Museum/ Leibniz Institute for Maritime History


Senior Researcher at the ERC-Project "Ways of Writing. How Physicians Know, 1550-1950" (Head of the Research Unit Politics and Science in the Early Modern Period; Institute for the History of Medicine at Charité Berlin).


Researcher at the DFG Research Network "Medical Practice 17th-19th Century" (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin)


Research Associate, Chair of Early Modern History, HU Berlin


Scientific curator of the exhibition "Praxiswelten 17.-19. Jahrhundert" (Medical History Museum of the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin/ German Medical History Museum Ingolstadt)


Scientific curator of the exhibition "Medicine Meets History: the Medical Science of the Cistercians" (Chorin Monastery, Brandenburg)


Research associate at the Collaborative Research Center 640 "Representations of Social Order in Transition (HU Berlin)


Doctorate (Dr. phil. (HU Berlin)


Doctorate "Concepts of political order in ritual - the self-representation of Venice and the Hanseatic cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck around 1600" Chair of Early Modern Times, Institute of History at Humboldt University Berlin


Studies of Modern and Contemporary History, Ancient History and Graecistics at the HU Berlin (Degree: Magistra artium)

Scientific publications

In collaboration with Lorena Bradford and Abigail Diaz:
Expanding Museum Communities: International Perspectives on Access in Exhibition Design and Public Programs, in: Museum Education 46,1, P. 38-47.


In collaboration with  Wolfgang Struck, Frederic Theis and Florian Tuechert:
Karten-Reisen: Von Meereswissen und Welterfahrungen.
Wiesbaden 2021.


Conference Report:
The Naval Shipworm Teredo navalis - A Global Player and its Entangled Histories


Schilling, Ruth:
Die Macht der Objekte. Ordnung und Widerspruch im Museum, in: Warnke, Ingo H. u.a. (Hg.), Kontradiktorische Diskurse und Macht im Widerspruch.
Wiesbaden 2020, P. 53-72.


In collaboration with Jens Ruppenthal and Martin Weiss (Hg.):
Von Flaschenpost bis Fischreklame. Die Wahrnehmung des Meeres im 19.-20. Jahrhundert.
Köln/ Weimar/ Wien 2019


In collaboration with Drews, Wolfram et al. :
Monarchische Herrschaftsformen der Vormoderne in transkultureller Perspektive.
Berlin 2015


Schilling, Ruth:
Johann Friedrich Glaser. Scharfrichtersohn und Stadtphysikus in Suhl.
Cologne 2015


Schilling, Ruth:
Wandel durch Annäherung? Französisch-siamesische Audienzen 1684-1686, in: Burschel, Peter; Vogel, Christine (Eds.): Die Audienz. Ritualisierter Kulturkontakt in der Frühen Neuzeit, Verlag Böhlau,
Cologne 2014, p. 247–264


In collaboration with Isabel Atzl et al.:
Praxiswelten. Zur Geschichte der Begegnung von Arzt und Patient.
Ingolstadt 2013


Stadtrepublik und Selbstbehauptung. Venedig, Bremen, Hamburg und Lübeck im 16./ 17. Jahrhundert.
Cologne 2012

Exhibition projects

New conception of the new semi-permanent overall exhibition "Man and the Sea" at the German Maratime Museum (8000m2) - first step: exhibition unit around the 'Bremer Kogge' (March 2017).

  • "8 Objects - 8 Museums" - joint exhibition of the eight Leibniz Research Museums (scientific curation of the exhibition part of the German Maritime Museum).
  • Of Captains and Merchants. Maritime Trade in the Middle Ages (traveling exhibition under the title Sails, Salt and Pieces of Silver) (scientific project management)


Sponsorships / Honors


Study Foundation of the German People


Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani/ Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V.


Funding of the printing of the dissertation by the Women's Promotion of the Philosophical Faculty I of the HU Berlin


Appointment as visiting senior fellow Trinity Hall (Univ. of Cambridge, UK)



Scientific Coordinator of the Expert Group "Marine Pollution" (Round Table of the German Government "Seas and Oceans")

since 2017

Chair of Northern Sea Maritime Museums’ Network

since 2016

Reviewer for the 'Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte' (Reports on the History of Science)


Scientific Advisory Board of the research project "Trade and social life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on Danish-Dutch Contacts" (University of Southern Denmark/ Fikseri-og Sofartsmuseet Esbjerg

since 2014

Reviewer activities DFG and Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation)


DFG Network "Pre-Modern Monarchical Forms of Rule"


AG "Wissensformen" / Worlds of Contradiction, humanities initiative of the University of Bremen (co-initiator)

Activities in the academic self-administration of the University of Bremen

since 2018

Representative of the Institute of Historical Sciences in the Faculty Council of FB 8

since 2018

Deputy head of the BA examination board history

since 2018

Mentor for first-year students in history

Third-party projects


a) "Digital Materialities. Virtual and analog forms of exhibiting museum artifacts" (Leibniz SAW Transfer Project; project management).
b) "Basic and Contextual Research on North German Lloyd as a Big Player of German Colonialism: Maritime Infrastructures and Collector Networks" (Center for Cultural Property Losses Basic and Contextual Research; project management).


"Media and the Sea" (UBRA Conference, main organizer).


“Intoxicating Spaces. The Impact of New Intoxicants on Public Spaces, Consumption, and Sociability in North-Western Europe, ca. 1600-1850” (HERA, Praxispartner)


"Post digital Participation" (Leibniz Research Campus, subproject management)


"Map Seas. Towards a History of Globalization from the Water" (BMBF Language of Objects, subproject management).


"Concept development for the digitization of ship models as knowledge repositories in the area of conflict between original and digital image" (BMBF - Research and development project for the digitization of objects of cultural heritage - ratheritage, project management).


Fellowship International Museum (German Federal Cultural Foundation, project management)



Bade, Oliver, Between Arriving and Leaving - The Effects of Changing Media on Everyday Life in Seafaring Families (2021)

Behrend, Joachim, Robert Warthmüller's history paintings about Frederick the Great with a catalog raisonné of the artist's work (2018)
Berendsen, Helga, The pictorial history of the cog

Goebel, Tobias, Actors in shipping, trade, and research in 
Northwest Germany in the 19th century from a global microperspective

Stamm, Miriam, "If you want to pray, go to sea!" - Religion in Shipping from the 16th to the 18th Century.

Theinert, Nils, Submarines as Objects of Human Power of Assertion
Törün, Talip, The Role of Merchant Shipping in the Genesis of Orders of Collection and Knowledge in 19th Century North Germany

Tüchert, Florian, Learning to Read Maps - Practices of Map Use in Navigation Instruction







Digital Materialities - Virtual and Analogue Forms of Exhibition

The joint project "Digital Materialities. Virtual and Analogue Forms of Exhibition", DigiMat for short, is looking for new exhibition and mediation formats for digital exhibits.


Colonial history of North German Lloyd

As one of the largest shipping companies of the German Empire, North German Lloyd (NDL) plays an important role in the exhibition and research program of the German Maritime Museum / Leibniz Institute of Maritime History (DSM).


Cocoa, coffee, tobacco - intoxicants in the past

Ports have served as transshipment points for narcotics of all kinds for centuries. In a joint project, students, historians from the University of Oldenburg and the German Maritime Museum (DSM) / Leibniz Institute of Maritime History investigated the routes taken by coffee, tobacco and the like and how their consumption changed.


Maps - Seas. New research project on nautical charts at the DSM.

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the research of historical nautical charts from the collections of the German Maritime Museum (DSM) and the Perthesforum Gotha.


App to the museum for everyone?

The aim is to make it easier for people with cognitive impairments or dementia to visit museums. Interdisciplinary approaches to digitization from computer science and psychology could lead the way for successful inclusive museum work.


Research object "Bremen Cog"

The recovery of the wreck from the harbor area in Bremen Rablinghausen was the start of a research story that continues to this day. We cordially invite you to accompany us on this journey!


Knowledge on the road

Shipping, Logistics, and the Genesis of European Collections in the 16th-20th Centuries.


Opening hours

Cog hall: Tuesday till Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm

how to reach us

Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum
Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1
D-27568 Bremerhaven


T. +49 471 482 07 0

Contact person

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