The project “Museums and Society – Mapping the Social” examines the manifold ways in which museums are involved in defining and reproducing society. At the same time, it examines how specific forms of the social have shaped museums, their collecting practices, their employment structures, and their exhibition politics. The history of the museum is the history of modernity, which is why it is inextricably linked to key social concepts like the state, nationality, nationalism, the public sphere, the individual, equality, and scholarly and scientific rationality. Current museum discussions about restitution, sponsoring and patronage, access policies, and employment practices are thus always debates about sociopolitical categories and the realities that they influence. We claim that the question of “social cohesion” reveals the limits of traditional concepts and categories of thinking about the social and society. What understanding of “social cohesion” emerges when we examine it by looking at concrete museum practices, and how could our understanding of museums change if we examined them through the lens of “social cohesion”? The aim of our project is to develop historically specific and empirically founded understandings of the roles played by museums in the production and distortion of the social. In doing so, we also want to make a contribution to theoretical debates about the situatedness of modern society and its institutions.