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Vernacular/Nostalgia #2: behind the scenes at the museum
'I made a point of photographing the corridors, cabinets, shelves, and stores which held the museum’s more than 80million specimens.'
Welcome to Vernacular/Nostalgia, a fortnightly exploration of my creativity and curiosity practices in the form of photography, art, and archive finds.
I recently came across a post from the Public Domain Review (you can expect them to feature again in future posts) about ‘a photographic survey of The Smithsonian (1890-1913)’.
I thought it was brilliant because a) the survey images were printed in cyanotype, and b) the photographer, Thomas William Smillie, didn’t just survey artifacts and specimens, but some of the objects in which they were stored.
I worked at London’s Natural History Museum for four years, and for some reason (I’m not sure why, maybe something to do with how I find symmetry pleasing and my ‘everything in its place’ tendency), I was equally interested in the storage behind the scenes as I was in the exhibits on display.
So much so, that during my time there, I made a point of photographing the corridors, cabinets, shelves, and stores which held the museum’s more than 80million specimens.
These are some of those photos:
PS: Coincidentally,posted a piece about Nabokov’s interest in butterflies in his newsletter last Friday, if you’d like to find out more.