Posts Tagged ‘museums’

Top Five: Museums (a personal choice)

14 September 2011

By Kevin O’Sullivan

I am, I must admit, not the biggest fan of museums. Monuments, yes. Galleries, certainly. But there’s something about museums that often seems, well, too wordy, unfocussed, or over-done. Which might seem like an odd admission, coming from (a) an historian, and (b) one about to list his five favourite museums. But read on…

The British Museum
Start with a classic. If you can get over the size – in many ways it’s too big, and there’s too much that you simply don’t want to see. And if you can ignore the provenance of its artefacts and how many of them were acquired. Then there is so much to excite and amaze, on repeated visits, that you can always find yourself in an unexpected room, in an unexpected wing, or on an unexpected floor – for hours on end. That and the A History of the World in 100 Objects tie-in has opened a whole new way of exploring even the most obscure exhibit. Oh, and it’s free too.  Read More

Pue’s Recommendations for January

4 January 2010

Juliana Adelman I don’t imagine there is any Irish historian unfamiliar with the Hayes catalogues.  No matter what library you access them in, they are invariably ragged and slightly pungent from many years of fingers.  Their content is now searchable through the National Library of Ireland’s new database, Sources.  I’ve gotten tired of looking for book snakes in the library only to be given something 3 inches long that wouldn’t hold a feather in place nevermind a binding.  So I made my own.  You can too, see these instructions.  Finally, I’ve ventured into the world of ebooks without a Kindle or an iPhone.  If you download the free Stanza application, it makes reading Project Gutenberg books a bit easier.  There will be some formatting errors, but perfectly serviceable.

Lisa Marie Griffith Someone sent me a Terry Pratchett interview about his latest book Unseen Academicals over christmas that led me to the Guardian Book Club. Very enjoyable but I fear it will lead to an increase in the pile of books on my floor already threatening to cause a landslide from Christmas gift additions!  The National Gallery’s next exhibit runs throughout January and is entitled ‘A light in the darkness- Turner’s watercolours, silhouettes and miniatures’. It also includes watercolours silhouettes and miniatures from the Mary A. McNeill Bequest and include works from the Irish artist John Comerford (who painted prominent eighteenth and nineteenth century Irish politicians) as well as Richard Crosse and William Grimaldi. This looks like a fascinating exhibition for anyone with an interest in people!

Kevin O’Sullivan Every January I convince myself that this is the year to go and do one of the art history courses in the Hugh Lane or the National Gallery, but never get around to it. Until then I’m making do with the brilliant Smarthistory, a multimedia take on the history of art from the Aurignacians to Roy Lichtenstein. I’m also intrigued by Blackwell’s History Compass, to see if it can do something similar for our subject, though I’m not convinced that keeping its ‘peer-reviewed survey articles from across the discipline’ as subscription-only is the best model. Finally, though first broadcast in 2004, RTÉ Radio 1’s More than Museums series is definitely worth a listen, not least for the diversity of its subjects – from the Natural History Museum to the Falls Road via Croke Park. (As an aside, surely RTÉ’s New Year’s resolution should be to make its RTE Player available for old radio shows and stop directing listeners to the dreaded RealPlayer?)

Pue’s Poll: How should we treat human remains?

24 August 2009

Our new poll is up and asks your opinion on the use of human remains in history exhibits.  We put this one up because it seems to have been a topic of conversation recently.  The Bodies Exhibition just closed in Dublin and it generated a little (but less than expected) controversy over the source of its displays.  Have a look at this thorough review.  In addition, efforts by Aboriginal groups to repatriate remains of Aborigines currently housed in British museums has attracted media attention.  So should humans be treated differently in life and death?  Have your say!