I have been to interesting conference destinations before, but I think that the Post and Tele Museum in Copenhagen takes the cake. How often do you get to go down slides with your fellow delegates, in a room filled with giant postage stamps? Or see a pneumatic tube system in action!? (thanks Andreas)
I am speaking about the New Directions in the History of Infrastructure conference, that took place in the postal museum last month, hosted by Andreas Marklund and Mogens Rudiger. It was the kind of conference where your museum tour guide asks "who here collects stamps?" and a good proportion of the attendees raise their hands.
Over two and a half days, about 20 or so scholars interested in histories of infrastructure met to discuss their latest research. We heard about people smuggling, eavesdropping, sabotage, tinkering and past futures, in amongst talks on railways, the telegraph, metro systems, logistics, bicycle infrastructure and other large scale infrastructure projects. You can read the conference abstract here and see the program here.
It was one of those incredibly inspiring meetings where everyone was open to exchanging ideas during talks, lunches, dinners and coffees. I received good feedback from my talk and found out about even more wonderful uses of pneumatic tubes. As one of the only non-historians in the audience, I was warmly welcomed and loved learning more about the historical approach. I hope to keep in touch with many of the fascinating researchers I met during this workshop.
Images my own, from inside and on top of the Post and Tele Museum, Copenhagen.