Around the Table: Museum Exhibitions

By Sarah Peters Kernan

This summer proves to be an exciting one for anyone seeking recipes-related exhibitions at museums, libraries, and other institutions. Many exhibitions featuring the history of food, medicine, and science are well underway or opening soon, and many of the below institutions have created online components to accompany the in-person exhibitions. You will also see below that two culinary museums have opened this year. Furthermore (and excitingly!), exhibitions of interest are already being announced for 2023, such as Staging the Table in Europe, 1500–1800. Be sure to check the websites for full descriptions, as well as information like hours, fees, directions, and COVID-19 updates. Thank you to all in the Recipes Project community who contributed to this post and let me know about upcoming exhibitions! We always welcome readers to share your trips to any museums and exhibits of interest to the Recipes Project community on Twitter or Facebook!

African/American: Making the Nation’s Table

Museum of Food and Drink (New York, NY, USA)

Through 19 June 2022

African/American offers a view of the breadth of African American culinary traditions and innovations. The exhibition celebrates and seeks recognition for the countless Black chefs, farmers, and food and drink producers who shaped American food culture. Visitors can experience 400 years of Black influence on agriculture, culinary arts, brewing and distilling, and commerce, particularly through their movements during the Atlantic Slave Trade and Great Migration. The exhibition features impressive installations, such as the Ebony Magazine Test Kitchen and the Legacy Quilt, a collaborative project celebrating people, stories, and art; the Legacy Quilt also includes an interactive, virtual experience. Links to other interactive experiences such as the Virtual Reality Theater and Mapping the Nation’s Table are available on the exhibition website.

Alchemies of Scent

Prague, Czech Republic

June 2022

Alchemies of Scent is an interdisciplinary research group exploring the practice of ancient Egyptian and Greek perfumery, studying its place in the history of science, and examining the changing connections between art, craft, science and culture in the ancient Mediterranean world. In June 2022, the group is hosting two public workshops and a performance. Participants in the workshops, The Metopion Perfume: Ingredients and Experiment, will learn the myths and stories of scents and substances of the Ancient Mediterranean by plunging into one of the first cross-cultural perfumes of the Greco-Egyptian world: the Metopion. Through smell, taste, and touch, participants will experience the differences between past and present ingredients. Additionally, participants will develop skills of interpreting ancient recipes. Alchemies of Scent is also hosting a dramatization of the myth of Myrrha (the birth of Myrrh according to Ovid and Hyginus) on 17 June 2022.

Animalistic! From Animals to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

Pharmaziemuseum Universität Basel (Basel, Switzerland)

Through 5 June 2022

Four institutions in Basel are exploring a single theme, the relationship between humans and animals, through four distinct exhibitions. Each exhibition considers questions such as “how has the relationship between humans and animals changed, here and elsewhere?” and “what are the strengths and abilities attributed to animals?” The Pharmacy Museum’s exhibition investigates the use of animals as drugs, active ingredients of pharmaceuticals, and symbols in the history of pharmacy up to the present day. These themes are addressed through a fascinating collection of texts, artifacts, and specimens such as bezoars, isinglass, musk, Spanish flies, and snake flesh.

The Essence of a Painting. An Olfactory Exhibition

Museo del Prado (Madrid, Spain)

Through 3 July 2022

This innovative exhibition allows visitors to experience the Prado’s collections through the sense of smell. In collaboration with the Perfume Academy Foundation and the “AirParfum” technology developed by Puig, the perfumer Gregorio Sola created ten fragrances associated with elements present in the painting “The Sense of Smell,” part of the series on “The Five Senses” executed by Jan Brueghel in 1617 and 1618. The fragrances allow visitors to appreciate elements in the painting in a new way. For example, Sola has crafted the fragrance “Gloves,” which reproduces the smell of gloves scented with ambergris, based on a 1696 recipe. All ten aromas in the exhibition are detailed on the website.

Food for Thought: Riddles and Riddling Ways

McGill Library (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Through 30 June 2022

Visitors to the Food for Thought exhibition will explore mealtime riddle practices through items curated from McGill Library’s collections and beyond. Focusing particularly on the 18th and 19th centuries, the exhibition reveals ways in which people bonded during meals. This exhibition stems from a broader project, the Riddle Project.

FOOD: Recipe or Remedy

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK)

Through 27 January 2023

This exhibition explores the relationship between food and health over the last 600 years. The featured objects and texts on display consider changing ideas about how food could be used as a prophylactic, cure, and more. The exhibition also highlights the role of the physician, particularly Fellows and Members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, in the development of food-based medical treatments. The website includes links to recorded talks and articles related to the exhibition.

Garum, Biblioteca e Museo della Cucina

Rome, Italy

Garum is a culinary library and museum tracing the history of cooking and eating habits from the fifteenth century to the present. The museum boasts collections of culinary artifacts used in haute cuisine, home kitchens, and the creation of professional pastry, chocolate, and ices. The library consists of a fine collection of antiquarian culinary texts, including rare editions of Platina, Scappi, Menon, Carême, and Escoffier.

“Window display #4 Chocolate molds,” Garum, Biblioteca e Museo della Cucina https://www.museodellacucina.com/en/vetrina-4-stampi-per-cioccolato/

LA Plaza Cocina

Los Angeles, CA, USA

LA Plaza Cocina, a museum dedicated to Mexican and Mexican American cuisine, opened earlier this year with its inaugural exhibition Maize: Past, Present and Future. Through objects, images, and cookbooks, the exhibition celebrates maize as a sacred grain and global food source. The museum will feature a new exhibition every six months. This culinary museum also includes online tours and exhibitions.

Awaken ______: An Experimental Exhibit, Prototype B

Mercer Museum (Doylestown, PA, USA)

Through Late Summer 2022

Henry Mercer established the Mercer Museum to give people tangible reminders of preindustrial daily life, including the collective acts of creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and making do. Prototype B, the second part of the exhibition series, Awaken, explores these acts through the themes of food, cooking, dining, and inheritance. The exhibit includes an installation devoted to cooking and recipes and another on dining and unforgettable meals. Visitors are encouraged to share their own food-related stories, traditions, and memories.

[Re]Framing Graphic Medicine: Comics and the History of Medicine

University of Chicago Library (Chicago, IL, USA)

Through 15 July 2022

Drawing upon prints, illustrated newspapers and magazines, comic books, zines, and more, this exhibition seeks to reframe the history of medical images towards a broader socio-cultural history. The exhibition’s images span a range of themes, perspectives, and eras to address topics such as environmental health, gender and sexuality, disability, and health inequities.

From the [Re]Framing Graphic Medicine exhibition: Hans von Gersdorff, The Wound Man, Feldtbuch der Wundartzney, 1530.The Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

Rice: A Story of Africa and the Americas

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Cambridge, MA, USA)

Opens 16 June 2022

This mini exhibit set within the Resetting the Table exhibition is focused on rice cultivation in the Americas. It explores the establishment of the rice industry based upon African knowledge systems, the toll of the Atlantic Slave Trade, and the lasting culture of the Gullah Geechee, the descendants of the enslaved Africans who provided labor for the rice industry.

Through a Glass Darkly: Alchemy and the Ripley Scrolls 1400-1700

Princeton University Library (Princeton, NJ, USA)

Through 17 July 2022

Princeton University holds two of the twenty-three extant Ripley Scrolls, each spectacular manuscripts central to the transmission of alchemical knowledge in premodern Europe. This exhibition featuring Princeton’s Ripley Scrolls shows how European alchemists built upon Greco-Egyptian, Islamic, and late medieval knowledge to create a golden age of alchemy from the 15th through 17th centuries. An accompanying digital exhibition is also available.

If you’d like to feature a museum exhibition or collection on the Around the Table, please email Sarah Kernan.

Tales from the Archives: Around the Table: Research Technologies

In 2019, I spoke with Helen Davies and Alexander Zawacki, Program Coordinators of the Lazarus Project. Since that time, the project has continued to thrive and multispectral imaging has become an increasingly popular methodology for examining manuscripts and a particularly useful one when dealing with the stains, erasures, and other common marks found in recipe texts. The Rare Book School now offers a course on multispectral imaging and other scientific methods of book analysis, and the Coding Codices podcast recently highlighted the Lazarus Project in a conversation with Helen, now an assistant professor of English at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Alex, still serving as a Program Coordinator, and Katie Albers-Morris, also a current Program Coordinator. Today we revisit this Around the Table chat for a helpful explanation of imaging and the Lazarus project. -Sarah Kernan

This month on Around the Table, I am speaking with Helen Davies and Alexander Zawacki, Program Coordinators of the Lazarus Project and PhD students in English at the University of Rochester. This month on the Recipes Project, we’ve explored all kinds of ideas about texture. Now, we’ll get a chance to learn about digital textures, and how technologies like multispectral imaging can help scholars unearth new information about manuscripts. Those of us dealing with manuscript recipes from any time period are accustomed to erasures, stains, and layers of writing. Helen and Alex provide information about the ways in which multispectral imaging can help us interpret these elements of our sources.

Tell us a bit about the Lazarus Project. Do you work with materials from a specific time or place? With what sorts of projects and partnerships has your lab been involved?

The Lazarus Project is a multispectral imaging endeavor located at the University of Rochester. We’re a mix of professors, graduate students, and undergraduates from a range of different fields all working to use cutting-edge technology to digitally recover lost texts and images. Many of us — Helen, Alex, PhD Candidate Kyle Huskin, and our advisor (and the director of the project) Gregory Heyworth — are medievalists, and so many of projects tend to focus on objects from that time period in Western Europe, but we’ve also worked on Biblical manuscripts from Egypt, pre-Columbian material from the Americas, postcards sent from concentration camps and censored by the Nazis, and eighteenth-century musical scores from Germany. We’ve partnered in the past with (to name just a few) the United States Holocaust Museum, the Folger Library, the Beinecke Library, the Saxon State and University Library Dresden, the Vercelli Chapter Library in Italy, and the Bodleian Library.

How does your lab select items to analyze? Do libraries and organizations reach out to you, or do you seek out specific items and projects?

A bit of both. Sometimes we’ll find objects that we particularly want to work on, and set about applying for grants and searching for funding to make that happen. Other times institutions or even private individuals will reach out to us about an object in their care that they would like to have imaged.

Could you explain how multispectral imaging works? Can you provide a few examples of what scholars can learn about books with this technology?

We take an object — a manuscript, for example — and photograph it first under discrete wavelengths of light, moving from the ultraviolet through to the infrared. Then we take another series of images under only ultraviolet, violet, and blue light, which induces fluorescence in the object, like when you wear a white t-shirt under a blacklight. We use filters to separate out different wavelengths from the fluorescence that the object emits, trying to squeeze as much data out of it as possible. Lastly, we take a final group of photographs while shining light upwards through the manuscript, which has the potential to reveal “ghost letters” — places where the ink has been removed, but the parchment has thinned enough to reveal where it used to be.

Photographing the object is only the very tip of the iceberg, though — almost never do any of the images reveal all or even much of what we’re looking for. Next, we process the images using software originally designed to analyze satellite and aerial imagery. This can be a very laborious and time-consuming process.

Our goal is to recover texts and images that have been lost to time and damage. Palimpsests are a great example of the kind of thing that scholars can learn using this technology. In the medieval period, people would sometimes erase entire manuscripts by scraping or washing the parchment clean, and then re-use the pages to make a new book. The “undertext” — the book that was erased — is often illegible, far too faint and obscured by overwriting to read. We try to make that undertext visible again, usually for the first time in centuries. Other times we work on objects that have been damaged by fire, water, chemical staining, or simple fading, all with the goal of bringing scholars new texts to work on and study.

During a July 2019 workshop on Spectral Imaging in Cultural Heritage, the Lazarus Project team shared information about imaging methods with a group of participants. Participants at the workshop could see how chemical reagents are used on palimpsested manuscripts. Pictured here: pumice is used to palimpsest parchment, and then a reagent reveals the erased writing.

As you know, our readers deal with recipes of all kinds (medical, household, culinary, alchemical, etc.) We encounter strange marks and stains all the time in our books! What can multispectral imaging tell us about those marks and stains?

Multispectral imaging can help readers work with a variety of stains and marks in a variety of ways. Firstly, we can help you see through them. MSI can help readers see underneath the stains. This can be very important in manuscripts whatever been treated in chemical reagents. As you and your readers likely know, chemical reagents were widely used for a time in order to bring out ink that had faded. Yet this momentary gain in legibility was frequently followed by long term damage to the manuscript. MSI can help digitally reverse these stains. Hyperspectral and other imaging modalities can be leveraged to look at material composition of stains. Multispectral, however, mostly helps with legibility rather than material analysis. A group of scholars has recently tried to push the material analysis capabilities in new directions through the Library of Stains project.

At the workshop, an image of the Rotovap system distilling the wine + oak gall solution.

What kind of training or partnerships might be necessary for a humanities scholar without a digital background to incorporate imaging into their research?

An interested humanities scholar would first need to either purchase a multispectral imaging system or partner with a group or institution that owns one. This partnership could take the form of receiving some training in operating the technology (unless the group would be doing both the imaging and the processing, as we often do) or being lead scholar on the project.  Training could incorporate learning more about MSI on site or image processing training. There is a range of software available for processing including ENVI (which we use), Matlab, Python or Image J (for which imaging professionals built various custom toolkits). A lead scholar partnership involves a humanities scholar reaching out to us for imaging, working with us to secure funding for the project, and then this individual driving the research. We will work with them to ensure we get as much data as possible from an item, but they lead the transcription, translation and examination of the document. This gives non-digitally inclined scholars the opportunity to work with multispectral images and recovered texts.

How did you become interested and involved in digital humanities and the Lazarus Project?

All of our team members have come to the Lazarus Project through different routes.

Helen: I had the opportunity to photograph early print books in the York Minster Library while working on my MA in Medieval Studies. This led to me pursuing a digital humanities MA and further imaging jobs. Eventually, a friend of a friend asked me to do some work for Lazarus and then Greg encouraged me to apply for a PhD to continue learning from and working with the project.

Also at the workshop, Alex Zawacki transfers the reagent.

Alex: I found out about the project as a first year PhD student at the University of Rochester. I was fascinated by the idea of recovering lost texts. I started working with the project to see what we could find, and I am now cultivating my own projects to search for lost material in my own field.

Do you have any favorite Lazarus Project items you’ve worked with, so far?

We all have our own individual favorites we have worked on in the past.

Helen: My all-time favorite is the damaged medieval world map in Vercelli, Italy. There are only a handful of large scale medieval wall maps to survive (others have fallen victim to bombs, binders and other forms of destruction). The map in Vercelli survives, but has been largely unreadable. We have imaged it, recovered it, and, I am happy to report, as of last week I have created an entirely new digital facsimile of the document. However, I have loved getting the chance to work on a variety of objects from ancient coins to Old English poems to early modern globes.

Alex: I’m torn between the Codex Boenerianus, the Black Book of Camarthen, and a single manuscript fragment from the University of Rochester’s Rare Books and Special Collections department. The latter had been used as a binding fragment and was terribly faded and stained. No one had been able to read any of it in the 50 years that it had been in the university’s care. That one was particularly rewarding, as not only were we able to recover nearly the whole text, identify the work to which it belonged (Richard FitzRalph’s Summa Questionibus Armenorum), and trace some of its provenance and history as an object, we also found that it was the only witness to that text in a non-European library — and very possibly the oldest extant witness.

Thanks, Helen and Alex, for chatting with me about multispectral imaging! You can follow the Lazarus Project on Twitter @Lazarus_Imaging, Facebook @LazarusProjectImaging, and Instagram @lazarusprojectimaging. If you’d like to feature a project, scholar, or institution on Around the Table, please email Sarah Kernan.

Around the Table: Celebrating Our Contributors

With the advent of the new year, two members of our editorial team have stepped down from their positions: Recipes Project co-creator Lisa Smith and longtime contributor-and-editor Laurence Totelin. Today we celebrate Lisa and Laurence’s valuable contributions to the project and their service to our community! Amanda Herbert recently spoke with Lisa and Laurence to reflect on their time with the Recipes Project.

Amanda: Tell us about your introduction to the Recipes Project: when did you join, and why?

Lisa: It was a chilly April evening in Saskatoon, Canada, back in 2012… Elaine Leong was over for a week for a conference and various network-building meetings. We were sitting in my (then) living room plotting all sorts of recipe-related activities. We were both intrigued by the possibility of developing a blog that could bring together lots of different voices and would appeal to the wider public. We also wanted to think more widely about what is a recipe, anyway, which is why we took a liberal definition to recipe from the outset, which could encompass ingredient parts, books, magic, and more. Over the summer, we looked into different platforms and ended up going with hypotheses.org as being the most flexible one for a collaboration. We launched the blog on 11 September 2012, with a post on scribblings by Elaine, and were pleased with the good reception it received immediately. 

Laurence: I was on maternity leave with my second child when Lisa and Elaine invited me to contribute to the Recipes Project. At the time, I had never written a blog post, and I was rather nervous. But the invitation sparked something in me, and I started my own blog (Concocting History), which allowed me to grow in confidence. I wrote my first post for the Recipes Project in February 2013 and joined the editorial team at the beginning of 2015, with a series on Greek and Roman recipes. I did not hesitate one second to join because I knew that the Recipes Project was a supportive environment, in which I would be able to develop my editorial skills. 

Amanda: What was your favourite TRP project?

Lisa: What is a Recipe? A Virtual Conversation, an online conference we held in 2017 to celebrate our fifth year. This was a lot of hard work and required a lot of creativity, but we were definitely ahead of the game in terms of a virtual shift. Our goal was to make our conversations about recipes more inclusive, for both people around the world who could not afford to travel and to a wider, non-academic audience. It worked so well, as participants used YouTube, podcasts, blogging, photo essays, and Twitter to join in. We had students, farmers, famous authors, and museum specialists drop in accidentally–they didn’t know it was part of a bigger thing– and contribute to the conversations in thoughtful ways. As Laurence and I were saying the other day, we wish that we had written an article about the conference, which we had planned to do and just never got around to doing… When the pandemic happened, it turned out that our knowledge would have been useful to a lot of people, but by then all sorts of people were trying out virtual conferences with varying degrees of success anyhow. (Readers, let that be a lesson: don’t sit on your good ideas!) 

Laurence: I have two favourites. Like Lisa, I enjoyed the Virtual Conversation immensely. In the COVID era, we have had to switch to virtual conferences, but in 2017, this was very new. We didn’t try to replicate a ‘normal’ conference virtually; we threw away the rule book and tried all sorts of things. Some were more successful than others, but I think that I learnt a lot from the Conversation both in terms of contents and methodologies. My second favourite project was the interaction I had with Jennifer Park on the topic of curdled milk in the breast (here and here). This really demonstrated to me the potential of blogging as a venue for the exchange of ideas between scholars working on different periods (early modern period for Jennifer; Greek and Roman antiquity for me) and different types of sources (drama for Jennifer; medical sources for me). Exchanges between scholars have always happened of course, but blogging allowed us to have our conversation publicly and faster than if we had simply added references to each other’s work in more traditional academic publications. I can’t actually recall whether we had this blogging exchange before or after Jennifer and I met (at the Wellcome Library), but that exchange remains very special to me.  

Amanda: How do you think the project has grown and changed over the years?

Lisa: Our definitions of recipes got even broader. We actively sought out new voices and aimed to be more inclusive by moving beyond our own pre-modern European networks. We quickly realised that we could not do it all with such a small team and expanded to a much larger team of editors and social media editors. This has ensured that we could bring in even more new voices and exciting research! I can’t wait to see what direction the editorial team takes next. 

Laurence: Both the chronological and geographical scope of the project have widened, as we have attempted to decolonise our approach to historical recipes. We used to be a woman-only team, which felt like the right thing in the early days, but we made a conscious effort to change this in the last few years. The blogging format always allowed for flexibility and reinvention, and I look forward to witnessing where the editorial team will take the Recipes Project in the future. 

Amanda: What are your own new directions? 

Lisa: I’ve recently taken on a senior leadership role in my university (Faculty Dean Postgraduate, Arts and Humanities) and will take over as Chair of the Society for the Social History of Medicine Executive in the summer. But my work with the Recipes Project has very much shaped my aspirations in these roles. Through the Recipes Project, I developed my skills in mentoring new scholars and a deep concern about what opportunities are available to them. I also gained experience in virtual community building and collaborative work. These will, I anticipate, be useful in both roles.

Laurence: Like Lisa, I have learnt so many skills through working with the Recipes Project. Most importantly, the Recipes Project has shown me a model for a supportive scholarly community. I have tried to take some of that ethos to my current roles, which include several editorial roles and the co-chairwomanship of the Women’s Classical Committee UK. I’m currently on research leave and I feel at a crossroads from a career point of view, as many large projects I was involved in have come to an end. I’m not entirely sure which road(s) I will take next, but I’m excited to find out. 

Thank you Lisa and Laurence for your years of innovations and contributions! The entire Recipes Project team wishes you all the best in your future endeavors.

If you’d like to feature a project, scholar, or institution on Around the Table, please email Sarah Kernan.

Around the Table: Museum Exhibitions

By Sarah Peters Kernan

For anyone able to safely travel in December or January, several museums have special exhibitions related to the history of food, medicine, and science. In addition to in-person exhibitions, several museums also have created online components or a completely virtual experience; be sure to check the websites for full descriptions, as well as information like hours, fees, directions, and COVID-19 updates. We also welcome readers to share your trips to any museums and exhibits of interest to the Recipes Project community on Twitter or Facebook!

The Art of Food: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

The University of Arizona Museum of Art (Tucson, AZ, USA)

Through 20 March 2022

The Art of Food, featuring over 100 works from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, displays how some of the most renowned artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have considered the subject of food. Through a range of media, artists contemplate the necessity of food for sustenance, community, and culture. The artwork displays a range of interaction with food, from production to cooking to consumption. In addition to the physical exhibition, the experience also includes Community Food Stories, a digital collection of  stories authored by members of Tucson’s food community.

CONTAGION

Science Gallery Bengaluru (Online Exhibition)

Through 31 December 2021

To explore the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, CONTAGION presents artistic, scientific, historical, and contemporary voices and perspectives. This online exhibition examines the transmission of emotions, behaviors, ideas, and diseases, so that visitors can contemplate their spread and impact. The exhibition goes beyond a website; instead, it is an immersive experience, providing writing prompts to all visitors, and frequent live events like lectures, workshops, film screenings, and more. This exhibition was curated by Danielle Olsen and Jahnavi Phalkey.

Contagious!

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave (Leiden, Netherlands)

Through 9 January 2022

This exhibition on contagious diseases considers historical outbreaks as well as the more recent coronavirus outbreak. Contagious! invites consideration about how people confronted epidemics in the past and how insights of past outbreaks can inform future responses. The exhibition includes both scientific objects and artistic works, such as a 17th century silk dress scented with lavender to ward off plague and a examples of historical and modern personal protective equipment for medical workers.

Falcons: The Art of the Hunt

National Museum of Asian Art (Washington, DC, USA)

15 January–17 July 2022       

In this forthcoming exhibition, a selection of paintings and objects from ancient Egypt to China displays the widespread interest and respect for falcons across time and cultures. The Art of the Hunt includes imagery from ancient Egypt, when falcons were associated with Horus; and from the eighth century on, when falcons were trained to become skillful hunters in the Islamic world, Byzantine empire, and China.

A mounted man hunting birds with a falcon, Freer Gallery of Art

Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place

Museum of London Docklands (London, UK)

Through 17 July 2022

Feeding Black explores the central role of food in Black enterprise and identity in South East London. Through recipes, objects, and stories, the exhibition highlights four African- and Caribbean-owned businesses: Livity Plant Based Cuisine, African Cash & Carry, Junior’s market stall, and Zeret Kitchen. Feeding Black also showcases photography by Jonas Martinez and an original soundscape by Kayode ‘Kayodeine’ Gomez.

Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY, USA)

Through 31 December 2022

This exhibition explores the interrelated histories of glass and wine, especially how glass has been integral to the production and consumption of wine for thousands of years. Visitors will view collection items highlighting this relationship throughout time, like a 2,000-year-old fragment of cameo glass depicting a grape harvest, a still-sealed bottle of wine found in a shipwreck off the coast of England, and dozens of wine glasses from around the world. There is a particular focus the Finger Lakes region of New York State, which has been home to the glass and wine industries for over 150 years. This exhibition was curated by Katherine Larson, Curator of Ancient Glass at the Corning Musuem of Glass.

Hyundai Commission: Anicka Yi: In Love With The World

Tate Modern (London, UK)

Through 6 February 2022

This installation is an experimental work which explores the merging of technology and biology. The artist, Anicka Yi, invites visitors to consider their role in the ecosystems in which they live through the dissolution of boundaries between plants, animals, microbes, and machines. Yi has installed floating machines (aerobes) in the exhibition space to encourage thought about ways in which machines can inhabit a world without clear distinctions between the living and machines. The installation also includes scentscapes associated with the history of the installation space, Bankside Power Station, at specific points in history.

Life in a Cup: Coffee Culture in the Islamic World

British Museum (London, UK)

Through 18 September 2022

Life in a Cup presents the story of coffee in parts of the Islamic world, allowing visitors to explore several coffee traditions. The exhibition traces the introduction of coffee into Istanbul by the early 16th century, explores centuries of coffeehouse culture in the Islamic world and beyond, and highlights the beautiful material culture of coffee.

Brass coffee pot with a hinged lid, British Museum, © The Trustees of the British Museum

Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World

National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC, USA)

Through October 2022

Outbreak provides visitors the opportunity to explore the relationship between the environment, people, animals, and microbes, and how professionals identify and respond to infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola virus, influenza, Zika virus, and others. Visitors can engage with interactive simulations to think like an epidemiologist, reflect on personal stories from survivors and frontline healthcare workers, and, through a multi-player game, work cooperatively with other visitors to contain an outbreak before it spreads further. Regular webinars are scheduled to compliment the exhibition; the schedule is available online, as well as recordings of past events.

Worlds of Opiates

Amsterdam Central Station (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

December 2021

In this collaboration between Poppi Museum, Utrecht University (especially Stephen Snelders and Intoxicating Spaces), Inventors Guild, and Corné van der Stelt, visitors can experience how opium has been viewed and used over time. Artists and scholars worked together to translate the history of opium into an exhibition featuring visual and digital components. This pop-up exhibition won’t be up long, so be sure to visit it in the heart of Amsterdam in December.

If you’d like to feature a museum exhibition or collection on the Around the Table, please email Sarah Kernan.