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History

Dig into an Incredible Compendium of Objects Excavated from the Bottom of Amsterdam’s Amstel River

July 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

During a nine year period in the early 2000’s a new metro line was excavated along the banks of Amsterdam’s Amstel river. The urban waterway had to be completely pumped, which gave archeologists a rare opportunity to examine the full spectrum of everyday and extraordinary objects which had fallen to the bottom of the prominent river. Below the Surface, a website created by the Department of Archaeology; Monuments and Archaeology (MenA), the City of Amsterdam; and their Chief Technology Officer, serves as an interactive compendium with access to images and information of 19,000 of the nearly 700,000 findings from the excavation site.

On the website you can explore the findings by date or dig into Below the Surface’s selection of object stories which provide context to specific pieces pulled from the river. An historical background is provided for select buttons, tokens, pottery segments, stamps, books, and other findings such as a 19th-century pipe cover decorated by a portrait of the Dutch navel lieutenant Jan Carel Josephus van Speijk or a 16th-century belt which bears the inscription: “Ik bin en ieger nu ik hebbe dat mi behaget” (or “I am a hunter and I now have what delights me”).

Meticulously divided display cases of the found objects are installed in the new metro line’s Rokin Station and can be visited by the public. A short documentary of the project can be found on Below the Surface’s website, with English subtitles coming soon. (via Kottke)

 

 



Art Design History

A Vault of Color: A Peek Inside Harvard’s Collection of 2,500 Pigments

April 15, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Although it’s only been a few months since we mentioned Harvard’s splendid pigment collection housed inside the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the team over at Great Big Story just took their cameras inside for a closer look. Straus director Narayan Khandekar takes us through the collection to see some of the rarest pigments including a particularly vivid shade of yellow produced from the urine of cows that are fed only mango leaves. Delightful!

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History Photography Science

Explore the Vast Scientific Collections of D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History Paired with Respective Experts

April 7, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

A presentation of entomology specimens arranged within one aisle of the Entomology Department compactor collection cabinets at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Designed to illustrate the size and scope of the Entomology collection. May 9, 2006. Featured researchers: Dr. David Furth, Collections Manager; Dr. Ted Schultz, Research Entomologist; Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Senior Scientist; Patricia Gentili-Poole, Museum Technician.

A presentation of entomology specimens arranged within one aisle of the Entomology Department compactor collection cabinets at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Designed to illustrate the size and scope of the Entomology collection. May 9, 2006. Featured researchers: Dr. David Furth, Collections Manager; Dr. Ted Schultz, Research Entomologist; Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Senior Scientist; Patricia Gentili-Poole, Museum Technician.

Carefully arranged within thousands of drawers, flat files, and shelving units are the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) which together comprise 90% of the Smithsonian’s collections. Found in these material assortments are the reference objects that help scientists, researchers, and museum curators understand our planet—from solid earth fragments to biological material and cultural objects from civilizations long deceased.

In this phenomenal photo series from the Smithsonian we get to see the many researchers paired with the items they explore and evaluate behind doors closed to the general public. You can learn more about these many varied collections on NMNH’s website. (via Juxtapoz)

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, displaying algae specimens, including coraline algae, wet specimens and the usual herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right, front), his research assistant Bob Sims (left, front), and associate researcher, Katie Norris (left, back).

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, displaying algae specimens, including coralline algae, wet specimens and the usual herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right, front), his research assistant Bob Sims (left, front), and associate researcher, Katie Norris (left, back). All images by Chip Clark.

Botanical collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Botany staff present are Dr. David Bruce Lellinger (left, front), Carol Kellof (right, middle), and Rusty Russell (left, back).

Botanical collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Botany staff present are Dr. David Bruce Lellinger (left, front), Carol Kellof (right, middle), and Rusty Russell (left, back).

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Smithsonian Institution's National Musuem of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing. Staff: Dr. Scott Wing, Chairman of the Department of Paleontology.

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing. Staff: Dr. Scott Wing, Chairman of the Department of Paleontology.

Whale skeletons from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology's marine mammals collections are displayed in storage at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland.

Whale skeletons from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s marine mammals collections are displayed in storage at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland.

Anthropological collections on display in Pod 4 (designed to house oversized objects) at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland. Anthropology collections staff present. Panoramic image #7 of 7 at 26mm focal length.

Anthropological collections on display in Pod 4 (designed to house oversized objects) at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland. Anthropology collections staff present. Panoramic image #7 of 7 at 26mm focal length.

An assortment of mineral specimens from the Department of Mineral Sciences' collections are displayed in the storage vault known as the "Blue Room," at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Mineral Sciences staff present are (left) Paul Pohwat, Collections Manager of Minerals, and (right) Russell Feather, Collections Manager of Gems.

An assortment of mineral specimens from the Department of Mineral Sciences’ collections are displayed in the storage vault known as the “Blue Room,” at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Mineral Sciences staff present are (left) Paul Pohwat, Collections Manager of Minerals, and (right) Russell Feather, Collections Manager of Gems.

Collections from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Invertebrate Zoology Staff present: Paul Greenhall, Robert Hershler, Ellen Strong, Jerry Harasewych, and Linda Cole.

Collections from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Invertebrate Zoology Staff present: Paul Greenhall, Robert Hershler, Ellen Strong, Jerry Harasewych, and Linda Cole.

Mice from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology's mammals collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Mice from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s mammals collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology's wet collections of fish specimens preserved in alcohol, located at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s wet collections of fish specimens preserved in alcohol, located at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Anthropological collections are displayed in Pod 1 at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

Anthropological collections are displayed in Pod 1 at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

 

 

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