Friday 19 August 2016

Exhibiting archives

This week’s blog is a shameless plug for a couple of fabulous exhibitions in Edinburgh University Main Library…

We have not one, but two, displays over the next few months that concentrate on the display of archive collections. It can be difficult to create a visual feast of an exhibition that is based around archival material – so much of it is loose sheet material that there’s often a lot of beige and printed text! But with some high quality collections and lashings of imaginative design we have two stunning exhibitions that showcase collections held here in the Centre for Research Collections.

The first is ‘Godfrey Thomson: the man who tested Scotland’s IQ’, the University’s Fringe Festival exhibition for 2016. Open from Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm (free entry) in the ground floor Exhibition Gallery, this display highlights the life and career of a remarkable man; Thomson was the largest-scale producer of IQ tests in Europe, testing the intelligence of every 11-year-old in Scotland in 1932 and 1947. Professor Ian Deary and his team have gone on to draw on that data to look at how childhood intelligence relates to intelligence and health in old age. Although no LHSA material is in the exhibition, we have been able to contribute to Professor Deary’s research by providing birth weight information for those participants in his Lothian Birth Cohort. For more information about this research please see, and for the details of the exhibition.
Inside 'Godfrey Thomson: the man who tested Scotland's IQ'
The second exhibition is in the Binks Display Wall on the 6th floor of the Main Library. ‘Enhance, Access and Understand: the University of Edinburgh and the Wellcome Trust’ looks at seven of the Centre for Research Collections’ recent projects funded by the Wellcome’s Research Resources programme. The display shows the diverse nature of the collections whilst also highlighting the specialist archive and conservation skills required to realise the projects. Here you can view examples from our UNESCO-recognised HIV/AIDS collections, and see how storage methods have been devised to meet their long-term preservation needs. Our work to catalogue case notes also features along with the cataloguing of Godfrey Thomson’s own archive, which can been seen in the flesh in the exhibition five floors down! Like the Exhibition Gallery display, it is free but opening times are slightly different: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm until 31 October.

Two views of the Binks' Display Wall exhibition - featuring Norman Dott on the steps and an early method of treating respiratory disease: a Nelson's Inhaler.
We are running a series of talks alongside ‘Enhance, Access and Understand’. Tickets are free but bookable via Eventbrite. Information on all the talks on offer can be found here:
Hope to see you there!

No comments:

Post a Comment