Cabinets of curiosity

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Taught for the first time in 2017/18, ‘Cabinets of curiosity: museums past and present’ considers the development of museums from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century. In this optional level 2 module, students explore both the history of museums in the British and Irish past and the presentation of history in museums today. They encounter seventeenth-century elite gardener John Trade scant junior, whose cabinets of curiosity formed the basis of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum after his death, a legal battle between his widow Hester and scholar Elias Ashmole, and then later Hester’s death in suspicious circumstances. And they encounter contemporary museum professionals like Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History director Nina Simon, described by Smithsonian Magazine in 2010 as a ‘museum visionary’, who advocates for audience participation in museum and exhibition design so that visitors can leave something of themselves behind.

Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationReflections
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2018


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