I would like to call attention to two new books related to object-centered history based on major exhibitions at Harvard's Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.
(1) Time and Time Again: How Science and Culture Shape the Past, Present, and Future, by Sara J. Schechner. Published by the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.
This is a lavishly-illustrated, 296-pp exhibition catalog for an exhibition by the same name in 2013 (http://chsi.harvard.edu/chsi_tta.html ).
Drawing upon collections in Harvard’s scientific, historical, archaeological, anthropological, and natural history museums and libraries, the book examines time finding from nature and time keeping by human artifice. Readers of this book will explore cultural beliefs about the creation and end of time, the flow of time, and personal time as marked by rites of passage. They will take time out and examine the power of keeping time together in music, dance, work, and faith. They will discover time’s representation in history and objects of personal memory, its personification in art, and its expression in biological change and the geological transformations of our planet.
The book is available for FREE download in two different formats--iBOOK and PDF:
- an interactive iBOOK with a video (found on iTunes Books): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/time-and-time-again/id977218203?mt=11
- a PDF (found on iTunes U): https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/time-and-time-again/id1008852567?mt=10. For those who don't want to get involved with iTunes, the PDF is also available for direct download from this Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fj9b15yzef12gzt/TimeAndTimeAgain.pdf?dl=0.
(2) The second book is connected to an earlier exhibition, entitled Tangible Things (2011).
Tangible Things: Making History through Objects, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Ivan Gaskell, Sara J. Schechner, and Sarah Anne Carter. Published by Oxford University Press, 2015. It is availabe in paper, hard cover, and as an epub. The book has 200 color illustrations and uses lively case studies to challenge the traditional divisions between museums and academic disciplines and to show how material objects all around us are embedded in major historical movements and topics such as race, gender, art, and culture. The book also has a companion website with over 400 detailed images of the objects discussed. Learn more here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/tangible-things-9780199382286?cc=us&lang=en&#.
Sara J. Schechner, Ph.D.
David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments
Department of the History of Science, Harvard University