Mirror mirror on the wall, why do we protect (objects) at all?

Introducing Safekeeping, an online exhibition curated by students on the University of Aberdeen’s Museum Studies MLitt.
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There is a mystery, a sense of excitement walking into an exhibition space. Whether it is art or history, the cool room, low lights and pristine glass protecting what is behind it make you feel like you are on the precipice of a discovery. Exhibitions and museums in general give you the opportunity to learn at your own pace, to decide how and when you learn something new, but the main facet is that you learn no matter how the information is delivered.

It seemed almost predestined that this year’s Museums Studies Postgraduate students would be the first to navigate the University of Aberdeen’s first student-led online exhibition. Months prior to the development of COVID-19 and the life-altering social distancing we are all experiencing, the ultimate goal of our exhibition ‘Safekeeping’ was to investigate the idea of ‘protection’ and how what people value is evident in what they protect.

A weather charm from Vanuatu, Melanesia, carved to protect homes or livelihoods from violent weather.

As we gathered ideas and researched objects, we began to realise that protecting what we valued crossed not only cultural divides but also time. Upon further investigation, we came to understand that protection can come in many forms, from items that actively counteract harm inflicted by humans, to objects that are perceived to carry the energy to defeat other unseen or natural dangers. ‘Safekeeping’ is an exploration into the protection of the self, others, possessions, and practices to fully understand protective objects throughout the world to explore what societies value. Through this immersive virtual experience, you can enjoy how and what you learn about protective objects, from weather charms to branks, all from the comfort of your couch. So join us, any time after our launch on 9 June 2020 and let us know what you value!



By Alyssa Woodall


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