Monday, 15 September 2014

England: The Other Within

If you're ever able to visit Oxford there are two places that you absolutely need to go to.  First, head to The Museum of the History of Science to have a look at it's collection of scientific instruments; the microscopes alone took up a couple of hours of my visit. Then, head down the road to the frankly phenomenal Pitt Rivers Museum where I pretty much guarantee you will be blown away by the sheer volume of fascinating ethnographic artefacts on display.

The Pitt Rivers Museum
What I'm here to point you towards today though is a project and website connected with The Pitt Rivers Museum called England: The Other Within.

England: The Other Within was a  project concerned particularly with the artefacts and documents held within the museum of English origin.  It offered the researchers an opportunity to detail those artefacts and present them to visitors within a context other than that of the wider ethnographical collection.

The website is a collection of  articles discussing topics such as the various English folklorists (of the likes of Margaret Murray and Edward Lovett), death related artefacts (accessories, food & jewellery) and scrimshaw.  Alongside these are a whole host of 'object biographies' detailing those artefacts of English origin held in the collection and with titles like 'Slug on a thorn' and 'Tylor's bewitched onion'. Seriously, who could resist a look?

Some of the writing is a little dry but on the whole this lovely little website is well worth your time and rewards both a casual skim through and deeper investigation.

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