Sixteenth-century woodcuts often depict young men wearing striped doublets or striped hose. When historian of science Tillmann Taape embarked on a journey into the meaning of stripes, he discovered that artists used them to mark out people who were neither rich and educated nor poor and illiterate – but something in between.
A new book tells, for the first time in full, the extraordinary story of drawings of embryos initially published in 1868. The artist was accused of fraud – but, copied and recopied, his images gained iconic status as evidence of evolution.
In 1714, the British Parliament offered large rewards for finding longitude at sea. Men around the world submitted schemes but only one woman, Jane Squire, published a proposal under her own name. Dr Alexi Baker has been investigating the life story of this remarkable trailblazer.
The origins of Darwin’s theory of evolution – including the pages where he first coins and commits to paper the term ‘natural selection’ – are being made freely available online today in one of the most significant releases of Darwin material in history.
Born 500 years ago, Andreas Vesalius has iconic status in the history of science. Cambridge University Library holds several copies of the remarkable books that he published to revive the lost art of anatomy and promote his own career as a physician. Historian Dr Sachiko Kusukawa has curated an online exhibition to celebrate Vesalius's achievements.
What William Courten bought on 9 June 1698: 1 young Pelican, 2 Land Tortoises and a cap of seafowles skin09 Jun 2014
A remarkable archive records the purchases made by William Courten (1642–1702) whose museum was praised by visitors as a noble collection of curiosities. An investigation of Courten’s records by Dr Sachiko Kusukawa reveals that Courten bought items from more than 80 individuals, many of them trading within walking distance of his rooms in London’s Middle Temple.
A PhD student’s research at Cambridge’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science has revealed how racist ideas and images circulated between the United States and Europe in the 19th century.
Our lives are bound up with objects. Museums are evidence of our deep preoccupation with the things that surround us, whether natural or the product of human endeavour. Why do we keep stuff, what do we learn from it – and what does our fascination for objects from our past tell us about being human today?