Value in Things

Can different value systems contrast and productively overlap within a single object? Anita Herle explores this question through a Trobriand Island canoe ornament on display in one of the galleries at MAA.

Anita Herle

21 May 2024

Is this a dagger which I see before me?

Can daggers be more than weapons? Analysing two at MAA, Michael Robinson shows how in medieval England, these daggers were not just weapons, but also symbols of wealth, status, and personal taste.

Michael Robinson

14 May 2024

A piece of wonder, or what four fragments of the Taj Mahal can tell us about monuments in India 

What is a piece of the Taj Mahal doing in a case with a Sumerian tablet, an Ostrich shell necklace, and an amulet from ancient Egypt? What can it tell us about monuments and conservation practices in India?

Sarthak Malhotra

26 March 2024

This Temple is not a Temple: The Taylor Collection at MAA

What is this object meant to be? Why is it in this museum and not that one? Rhea Tuli Partridge asks simple but crucial questions about a model temple in the Taylor Collection at MAA.

Rhea Tuli Partridge

16 January 2024

Kui Elephant Catchers and the Pakam Rope: From Thailand to Cambridge

In March 2023, a new object came into MAA's care – a เชือกปะกำ (Pakam rope). Alisa Santikarn and Imogen Coulson explore the journey that it took from Thailand to Cambridge, through an online exhibition.

Alisa Santikarn and Imogen Coulson

12 December 2023

Lady Clementine Spencer Churchill and Asmat Shields

In 1935, Lady Churchill donated three Asmat shields from Papua New Guinea to MAA. Nick Stanley explores their journey to the museum, their efficacy, and their relevance today.

Nick Stanley

28 November 2023

From Russia with Radioactivity: Misidentified Objects and Hazards

A series of surprises leads Katrina to improve the provenance record of a beaded necklace from Russia, and identify a new hazard in the collections at MAA: radioactive uranium glass beads.

Katrina Dring

10 October 2023

The Story of a Tent and its Gypsy Maker

Cambridge anthropologist Ivor Evans' interest in the heritage of British Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities led to the preservation of objects familiar to rural Britain in the 1930s.

Eona Bell

26 September 2023

Made of Straw

Three straw hats exemplify intricate craft skills, raising questions about creators, evolving techniques, and the contemporary relevance of a versatile and historically significant material like straw.

Lucy Hockley

19 September 2023

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