News flash: broken stuff continues to exist

07 May 2013

Massive news flash/amazing coincidental discovery: broken objects do not cease to exist.

Having recently made a trip to the Bowes museum, this afternoon I had the pleasure of a personalised tour of Dr. Nicky Reeves’s exhibition at the Whipple museum of the History of Science.

Nicky’s exhibition touches on a variety of subjects, mentions Jeremiah Dixon and encases a carefully calculated amount of stuff - the “bits” of scientific endeavour. Nicky and I mused about how we view these “bits” today; how they are treated once they enter the domain of the archive/museum; how they might have looked at the time they were used; and their different meanings in different contexts. After all, musing is what one does in a museum.

Highly recommended.

I hope others will visit and enjoy Nicky’s charming and lovingly detailed Playmobil diorama, a very special ear, a display of items from the “early 21st century” and a mystery locked box. My favourite part was the deliberate and meaningful inclusion of bits of broken things, and specifically, an inventory from the Board of Longitude featuring… BROKEN THERMOMETERS.

I speak to Nicky from time to time, which is less often than I should, considering what a good friend he is of mine, but I promise we had never talked about broken thermometers before I encountered them in two museum exhibitions within a week.

Thanks Nicky!

Tags: museum