Materiality, Fragility, and Loss in the Medical Archive
A number of artifacts in the Medical Historical Library’s collection cannot be fully appreciated in display cases. Some are fleeting images activated through movement. Others have mechanistic components or hidden parts which require tactile engagement. Some objects are simply too delicate to be presented in this traditional manner. This online exhibition collects objects originating from diverse locales and a wide range of periods, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. In doing so, it reflects on the materiality of the Medical Historical Library’s collection. Many of these works also highlight the challenges of conservation and display. The exhibition provides illuminating examples of how material fragility and decay can also be a source of information about objects.