skip to primary navigationskip to content

Material sources

This series of teaching seminars is designed to get students from across our MPhil, Part III and PhD cohort to engage with sources as material objects. It is also designed to introduce them to the extraordinary wealth of such sources that are held around Cambridge.

The plan is to run six sessions, three with a focus on museums / material culture, three on libraries / manuscripts and books. In part because the Whipple Museum will be closed until early 2019, the plan is also to run these as field trips – taking the students to another collection / college / library / archive in Cambridge. Once there, a relevant expert will speak to the students about chosen object/s and/or manuscripts/s / book/s, followed by a round table discussion.

Researching in museums

Friday 5 October 2018, 1–2pm, Seminar Room 1
Josh Nall, Boris Jardine

Why is there a museum inside the HPS Department? And why is it closed? Get the answers to these questions, and many more, in this hands-on seminar, led by the Museum's Curator of Modern Sciences, Josh Nall, and post-doctoral Research Fellow Boris Jardine.

The main goal of this session is to show off the diverse array of instruments, models, and ephemera in the Whipple Museum's collection, and to encourage graduate students to consider using material culture in their research. Many former students have produced outstanding essays and dissertations based on the investigation of Museum object/s, and this session will present researchers' own experiences and discuss how to work successfully with museum collections.

Diagram woodblocks for Newton's Principia Mathematica

Monday 22 October 2018, 2.30pm, Trinity College
Roger Gaskell

Sign up on Moodle

Visit to Clockworks in London

Friday 26 October 2018, 11am – 2.30pm

The visit will include a demonstration talk on lacquer techniques as well as a tour of the collection.

Vigani's cabinet

Monday 5 November 2018, 2.30pm, Queens' College
Simon Schaffer

Sign up on Moodle

Heritage of ethnographic museums and contemporary Inuit populations

Monday 26 November 2018, 2.30pm, Polar Museum
Charlotte Connelly

Sign up on Moodle

Chinese and Manchu texts

Monday 4 February 2019, 2.30pm, Needham Research Institute
Mary Brazelton

Darwin correspondence

Monday 18 February 2019, 2.30pm, Darwin Correspondence Project, University Library
Jim Secord

Sherburne's Sphere of Marcus Manilius

Monday 25 February 2019, 2.30pm, Whipple Library
Liba Taub