Exhibition and Museum Sites

I’ve been collecting sites for teaching, and one developing genre includes websites for museum and library exhibitions. Many museums do a great job of publicizing collections and current exhibitions: some who have decent collections in medieval studies include the Walters in Baltimore, the Art Institute in Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Met (not that I get to see them as much as I’d like to!). While they have great galleries, though, most of their exhibition home pages are just on-line posters. Now, however, some are developing sites to be fully-fledged complements to a visit (or, a substitution, if you didn’t get to see it).

video about printing the KJV

This links to a video about printing the KJV.

An exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, co-sponsored by the Folger, the Bodleian, and the Harry Ransom Center, has generated this wonderful site: Manifold Greatness. For academics, it’ll be a great teaching tool. There are short films about everything from its history to bookmaking (including class projects that could be adapted to university classrooms), timelines of the history of the Bible before and after the KJV, and a great set of references to later authors who’ve used it.

This winter there will be a new exhibition at the British Library entitled “Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination.” Here is a preliminary page about it, and here is a discussion on Medievalists.net. I have high hopes for the site (since I won’t be able to get over there to see it!). Here is coverage from The Guardian. A site as relatively large as Manifold Greatness might not be likely, but the BL has developed a lot of really great information for teaching and even for scholarship on its site: its English Language and Literature timeline, for instance, is dense with images and links to information elsewhere on its site; it’s one among several projects the BL has on line.

A third, perhaps unlikely, place to go is the BBC, whose history pages contain fairly deep sets of links, often connected to shows that will have video. Complementing the BL’s timeline, the BBC has a nice British History timeline that becomes a great way to access other information on the site through links on the entries.

John 1:1

John 1:1, from the Corbie Gospels

Exhibitions at the Met can be very generous in posting on-line images and discussion: here, for instance, is the home page for its exhibit Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the MIddle Ages, from a few years ago; it includes a large set of exhibition images.

Aside from museums, Special Collections departments at libraries have some wonderful sites as well: here is an exhibit from the University of Chicago library on “Book Use, Book Theory: 1500-1700,” for instance, which provides a more focused companion to some of the discussion on Manifold Greatness, as well as this recent New York Times article.

If you know of other on-line exhibitions I might have missed, please note them in comments! Remember when professors used to have to cart around sets of slides and film strips?

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4 Comments

Filed under Early Modern, Medieval, News, Reviews

4 responses to “Exhibition and Museum Sites

  1. There’s a selection of virtual exhibitions here from the Department of Coins & Medals in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, though I should admit that I know this because I coded six of them in my previous life and was the entire creator of four. Nonetheless, for shiny objects and human interest they do quite well. The Museum as a whole has a page listing most of its virtual exhibitions across all departments here.

  2. Thanks, Jonathan. I should have added that there are two sites that compile lists of exhibits: Culture24 has a lot of current information about exhibits in the UK, and the Medieval Material Cultures blog–in the right sidebar!–has a running list of upcoming exhibits.

  3. I do have a number of library exhibition sites listed in the links section of my Medieval Writing website (http://medievalwriting.50megs.com/), some of which have been up for years but still look pretty good. Some of the most delicious are from the Bibliotheque nationale de France.

  4. Oh, and I forgot this one, from the Smithsonian, Library and Archival Exhibitions on the web (http://www.sil.si.edu/SILPublications/Online-Exhibitions), which helps you find them.

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