Month 20 (February 2013)


This month I have been mostly... Celebrating variety

As our recent Butler Day seemed to pique public interest I’ve created an online version of the exhibition, Samuel Butler and Italy, and also had the audio recordings of the talks professionally edited so you can download them or listen to them online. (Thank you to Chris Jones at World Video Productions for making this possible.)

Lago Tom
Lago Tom - an illustration from Julia Powles's talk

On the education front, we trialled our new ‘Victorian Writer’s World’ workshop with a fantastic group of Year 5 and 6 children from Arbury Primary School, who applied their skills of deduction to a variety of artefacts from the Butler Collection in order to construct a chronology of Samuel Butler’s life. I think the children and their teachers were surprised at how much you can find out about a person and the time they lived in just by looking closely at a few historical objects! And of course we had lots of fun sticking images of all the artefacts onto our giant Velcro timeline at the end of the session.

Butler in his rooms
A Victorian writer's (and painter's and photographer's and composer's) world - IX/2/9

The workshop worked because of the sheer variety of items within the Butler Collection, and the fact that Butler himself was such an interesting character, with apparently boundless energy for pursuing his varied interests. Inspired by this reminder, and having been invited to give a talk at a conference of archivists later this week, I’ve also been preparing a presentation entitled ‘Celebrating Variety’, in which I hope to share some ideas about different ways of realizing the value of varied special collections for a range of audiences.

I’ve really enjoyed reflecting on the different activities and resources the Butler Project has brought about; it feels like we’ve accomplished a lot in quite a short time. With only four months remaining, my next focus will be planning our final event, A Celebration of the Samuel Butler Project, for Saturday 11th May. Oh, and (I nearly forgot) finishing cataloguing those last few hundred books!

Bookshelves in the Library
Books - to be catalogued...

Next month

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