Methodologies for Material Culture III: Museums and Material Culture

Course date(s): 
8 Nov 2013
10.00-16.30, The Museum of London, London Wall

Abstract

This workshop is part of the AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Programme Methodologies for material culture, which aims to provide postgraduate students and early career researchers in the Arts and Humanities with training in the skills required in the study of material culture, concentrating particularly on the employment of digital technologies and methodologies across disciplinary boundaries. Introductory training will be delivered through a series of practical workshops to be held at the Institute of Historical Research, Museum of London, The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre and the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent. The workshops will address the practical application of research methodologies and will be organised on the themes of Status, Power and Authority, Literary Culture, Warfare and Domestic Culture. The workshops will incorporate theoretical overviews employing early modern textual and visual sources, as well as practical hands-on sessions – both in terms of access to material objects as well as the use of technology (e.g. laser scanners).

Each free-to-attend workshop is designed around existing collections of objects, special library collections and digital collections at the respective institutions, and will include a two hour ‘masterclass’ to expose participants to the practical application of skills within an environment of unique collections. The workshops will be used to allow students and researchers to inform directly the development of more advanced, tailored training packages to be disseminated online.

Course details

Following on from the first two in the series of AHRC Collaborative Skills Development workshops hosted by the Museum of London at The London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, and University of London Senate House Library, the third workshop will take place at the Museum of London. This workshop will examine the practicalities and challenges of displaying objects in museum exhibits.

An initial session will examine a small group artefacts relating to death and mourning from the early modern period and formulate ways that such themes might be interpreted in a display for a variety of different audiences. After having worked up ideas and possible strategies for delivering textual information and display requirements, an area of the Museum of London’s War, Plague and Fire gallery will be studied to learn how objects and text come together in practical terms as part of a grand narrative of an exhibit. This will be followed by a visit to the Museum’s temporary Cheapside Hoard exhibition. Here, the focus will be on analysing specifically the design of a major exhibit and how visitors engage with very small objects as well as related supporting content, reconstructions and illustrative material.

Participants are asked to assemble at 10:00am in the main entrance of the Museum.

The final workshop will take place at the University of Kent on December 17th 2013 and will consider the material culture of warfare. More details to follow.