Saturday Spotlight Talks




Animal Skin Shields and Armour

17 January, 14.30

Defensive weaponry doesn’t have to be made of metal. Throughout history and in different parts of the world, man has been inspired by protective models found in nature.

This illustrated talk by project curator Helen Adams looks at some examples of ethnographic shields and armour in the Pitt Rivers collections - from leather lamellar armour used by samurai warriors and the crocodile cult of eastern Africa, to a fish-scale war jacket from Borneo and the iconic porcupine fish helmet from the Pacific. As accessories and garments combining functionality with fashion, such items demonstrate the skill of the armourer not just as a technician, but as a craftsman and artist.

Nigerian masks

Nigerian Masks and Masquerade

21 February, 14.30

Zena McGreevy, Senior Assistant Curator, talks about the stages involved in selecting and researching the objects for the Nigerian Mask and Masquerade display.

There is never enough room to include everything. What influences the choices of what to include? What doesn’t make it and why?

This illustrated talk gives an insight into what goes on behind the scenes during the development of a new display, as well as shedding light on some of the complex uses and meanings of these stunning Nigerian masks.

L for Leather

L For Leather!

21 March, 14.30

Andrew Hughes, VERVE project conservator talks about some interesting findings and difficult challenges whist preparing objects for display in the new Hide and Leather working case. Leather has a multitude of uses from shoes to saddles, water carriers to writing material. The museum collection houses leather from Ancient Egypt to the present day, made from the skin from mammals, reptiles, birds and fish.

This varied material presents a conservator with many different problems. What are the needs of historic leather? What stories can conservation work reveal about these objects and what new questions have they raised?