Month 19 (January 2013)


This month I have been mostly... Adventuring in Italy

We ushered the new year in very happily at St John’s, hosting our second public celebration of the Butler Project, Adventures in Italy, on Saturday 12th January. By luck, rather than cunning, the rain/sleet/snow held off all day, and 330 people ventured out to view a new exhibition of paintings, books, manuscripts, photographs and artefacts in the Old Library.

The event was also an opportunity to test the College’s newest facilities in the recently refurbished Divinity School, and it’s fair to say that the building proved an attraction in its own right! The main lecture theatre provided a beautiful space for our three speakers, Cristiano Turbil, Clarice Zdanski and Julia Powles, to share their knowledge of Samuel Butler and their experiences of his beloved Italy, with enthusiastic audiences of more than 60 people at each talk. Throughout the day visitors congregated in the central foyer, where a selection of modern reprints of Butler’s photographs were displayed along with a rolling slideshow of some of Butler’s oil paintings (you can view these online, here). Touchscreen computing facilities also allowed visitors to spend some time exploring Butler’s photographs for themselves via our Butler Map, which attracted interest from technophobes and technophiles alike! (Many thanks to Rebekkah Abraham from the Historypin team for coming along and helping people to use this resource.)

The Old Library exhibition space

A Victorian Writer's World - Samuel Butler in 1901

Following all this excitement I’ve spent the rest of the month devising a new education activity for a primary school visit we’re running in February in collaboration with the Cambridge & County Folk Museum, on the theme of ‘A Victorian Writer’s World’. Once fully developed, this activity will become a standard offering in the Library’s Education and Outreach programme, and another legacy of the Butler Project.

Next month

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