For those of you (with amazing memories) who remember my week curating We The Humanities, perhaps the thing that will have stuck in your mind is our discussions about representations of anatomy. It was certainly what stuck in mine, and what continued to inform my research in the Cole Library of Early Medicine and Zoology, and the accompanying Cole Museum of Zoology. The discussions which sprung from how we might “read” these bodies, and how context may or may not inform our reactions was very inspiring, and highlighted the value of sharing this kind of research material.
When I had the opportunity to work on a collaborative project (between the Cole Museum of Zoology @ColeZoology, the University of Reading’s Special Collections @UniRdg_SpecColl, and the Centre for Collections-Based Research) to create a pre-catalogue for material from the Cole Museum of Zoology’s archival fonds, I was pretty excited. And when it turned out that I had some additional time with the fonds after creating the pre-catalogue, my mind drifted back to the experience of collaborative curation with the We The Humanities community. A Twitter exhibition of the material from the Cole Museum fonds provided an exciting opportunity, not only to share these documents and photographs with an audience who might not otherwise see them (tucked away in an archive), but also to be almost uniquely collaborative. Tweeters could respond to the voices in the archive, could ask questions, could share the material and be involved in its the curation and interpretation, through the questions one might ask of it and by sharing material of their own.
The exhibition will run from Monday 19th to Wednesday 28th October 2015, with media tweets being released around 8.30am and 4.30pm GMT daily. You can follow along via the #ColeEx hashtag and the tweets will be sent by @VerityBurke_ (there’s more info on a flyer here: https://www.academia.edu/16902367/_ColeEx_-_Twitter_Exhibition_of_Natural_History_and_Zoology_19_-_28_10_2015).
If you’d like to be involved, just follow the #ColeEx hashtag, share, and start or join in with the conversations!