Archaeology in the attic

atticOn the 25th of november an exhibition has been opened in the Central Museum in Utrecht. This work in progress exhibition will last untill the 31st of december 2012.

Hidden for the public in one of the most beautiful buildings of Utrecht an old lady is working laboriously for decades on a collection of archaeological finds.

Neither is it just an old lady, nor is it a common collection. Ina Isings is one of the worlds foremost and most cited author on Roman glass at the respectable age of 92 years. Since 1961 she is the curator of the collection. The collection is even older, it is part of the historic collection of the Provincial Utrecht Society for Arts and Sciences (PUG) that was founded in 1773.
In 1995 it was donated to the City of Utrecht. More than 10.000 objects, mainly Roman are stored in boxes and cabinets. One of the cabinets is the writing cabinet of the 19th century writer, poet and vicar Nicolaas Beets. 

This situation was far from ideal. The PUG collection has been built up and expanded by successive generations of researchers. Because of the collection’s long history there is no definitive inventory. Information about the collection is available, but is not easily accessible.
Much of the information is stored only in the heads of several researchers so that the stories behind these objects are in danger of being lost. The objects must now also be stored in a responsible manner, according to the most up-to-date standards. For this reason a start has been made to identify, describe, photograph and conserve the objects. On the attic of the Utrecht Centraal Museum a place has been created to work at the collection.

Not only the working conditions are improved, but it is visible for the public. As a visitor you can watch a PUG staff member identify, describe, photograph and, if necessary, conserve 6000 objects. Not only can you follow the process, you can also ask questions and offer suggestions. There is also an opportunity to bring in your own finds for identification. In this workplace exhibition at the Centraal Museum you can witness the archaeological process and learn about the stories behind these archaeological finds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *