Category: Material Culture

Lacquer as Art and Medicinal Material in Early Modern England

CHENG HE Look up the word ‘lacquer’ in an art dictionary, or on Google, and you usually find the word ‘varnish’; a sticky liquid applied to the surface of objects to form a shiny coating. The word can also refer to the objects coated… Continue Reading “Lacquer as Art and Medicinal Material in Early Modern England”

Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown

DR CYNTHIA E. CHIN A single object was the subject of my doctoral dissertation: a heavily faded purple silk gown owned and worn by Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802), the wife of ‘His Excellency’, President George Washington. One of three surviving intact dresses belonging… Continue Reading “Stitches of Resistance: Reclaiming the Narratives of the Enslaved Seamstresses in Martha Washington’s Purple Silk Gown”

Collecting Contexts – Why Do We Collect?

WILL BURGESS During the summer of 2019, I volunteered at the V&A’s Lansbury Micro Museum in Poplar, East London, to help run an exhibition called For the Love of Things. The exhibition put the personal collections of the museum’s visitors on display, its shelves changing… Continue Reading “Collecting Contexts – Why Do We Collect?”

Material Culture and Identities: The Case of Eighteenth Century Toby Jugs

KERRY LOVE A main principle of material culture theory (the study of objects and their relationships to people) is that they can reflect or shape the people who lived alongside them in any given time. I have always enjoyed studying objects more than any… Continue Reading “Material Culture and Identities: The Case of Eighteenth Century Toby Jugs”

Using Scrapbooks as Historical Sources

Cherish Watton. Think of any topic, and someone, somewhere, has probably made a scrapbook on it. People scrapbooked on things which were important to them; family, friendships, professional activity, popular culture, political, and associational activity. Scrapbooks didn’t just document family life. Politicians and diplomats… Continue Reading “Using Scrapbooks as Historical Sources”

Historiography in Action: Teaching and Learning Historiographical Approaches through Active Primary Source Analysis

Liz Goodwin. This semester, my students discussed their memories of the London 2012 Olympic Games. For the majority of them, this took place when they were around 11/12 years old, in the summer between primary and secondary school. They wrote a paragraph down in… Continue Reading “Historiography in Action: Teaching and Learning Historiographical Approaches through Active Primary Source Analysis”