You are on page 1of 22


The Canada Science and Technology Museum

and the

Situating Science Cluster


READING ARTIFACTS: Summer Institute in the material culture of


Program, Schedule, Participants and Reading List

August 17-21, 2009

The Summer Institute will take place in one of the storage facilities of the museum. Please meet at
the front door of the museum (1867 St. Laurent Blvd) at 8:30 am on Monday morning. We will then
walk back to the storage facility (2495 Lancaster Road) for the opening sessions.

Directions by bus to the museum: From the University of Ottawa go to bus stop CAMPUS 1A
(3021), take Bus route 86 direction Elmvale and get off at stop RUSSELL / AD. 1909 (7157).
Duration 22 minutes.

Directions back to campus: From stop RUSSELL / AD. 1909 (7154), take Bus route 86 direction
Lincoln Fields and get off at station CAMPUS 2A. Duration 23 minutes.

Consult the OC transit web site for more details and travel planning:

A block of rooms at the University of Ottawa (90 University Street) have been set aside for participants of the
Summer Institute. OC Transpo bus 86 travels from campus to the museum at regular intervals. Conventional
residence rooms include breakfast and high speed internet, with shared bathrooms on each floor. $35.25 per
night. (booking code 197469). Two bedroom suites include breakfast, high speed internet, kitchen, private
bathroom with shower. $95 per night for one or two people.(booking code 197468). As soon as your
attendance is confirmed please contact Carole Ryan to confirm your room. She can be reached at or (613) 564-5400 X 5054. You will need to give your name, address and credit card

More traditional hotel accommodations can be found downtown ( or closer to

the museum at the hotels listed below.

Chimo Hotel - Ottawa

1199 Joseph Cyr Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1J 7T4

Toll Free: 1-800-387-9779 / (613) 744-1060

Fax: (613) 744-7076

WelcomINNS – Ottawa
1220 Michael Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1J 7T1

Toll free: 1-800-387-4381 / (613) 748-7800.

Fax: (613) 748-0499

Monday August 17 – The basics

8:45 to 10:45 am – Introductions. Meet the Summer Institute artifacts (and participants!).
Approaching artifacts. Rich Kremer. (Storage Facility - 2495 Lancaster Road)

10:45 to 11:15 am – Break

11:15 am to 12:00 pm – Curatorial challenge (Museum floor – 1867 St. Laurent Blvd.)
Zeep nuclear reactor, Jean-François Gauvin;
The Quebec Tokamak fusion reactor, Anna Adamek.

12:00 to 1:00 pm – Lunch

1:00 to 2:00 pm – The “dark matter” of universities* – forgotten historic instrument collections.
(Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)
- Cataloguing the collection at Harvard, Jean-Francois Gauvin.
- Roland Wittje’s report on the East -Coast collections.
-Rich Kremer on the university collections movement.
Brief 10 minute overviews followed by questions and discussion. Instruments from the McMaster
University collection will also be available for discussion and examination.

2:00 to 2:30 pm – Artifact case studies: Forensic methods with artifacts. Randall Brooks. (Storage –
2495 Lancaster Road)

2:30 to 3:00 – Break

3:00 to 4:30 Exploring the Summer Institute artifacts. (Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)
Hands-on sessions in small groups with faculty as guides. Participants will chose from a selection of
Summer Institute artifacts for a week-long research project. There will be final presentations on
Friday morning.

* phrase borrowed from Marta Lourenço (2005) (see bibliography below).

Tuesday August 18 – Teaching and demonstrating with artifacts

9:00 am to 1:00 pm – revolving activities in small groups. (Storage. 2495 Lancaster Road) Break
from 11:00 to 11:30 am.

1) Historic recreations – Hertz’s early experiments. Roland Wittje.

2) Visit and critique an artifact display or exhibit on the CSTM floor

3) Collection browsing. Jean-François Gauvin and Randall Brooks.


4) Seeing a voice: Demonstrating nineteenth-century optical acoustics. The Koenig Sound

Analyser. David Pantalony

5) Semantics of a 1920 Ottawa Street Sweeper. Anna Adamek.

1:00 to 2:00 pm – Lunch

2:00 to 2:30 – Teaching with artifacts. Rich Kremer. (Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)

2:30 to 4:30 – Researching the Summer Institute artifacts. In addition, there will be small collection
browsing sessions during this time.

Wednesday August 19 – Materials and the traces of history

9:00 to 10:00 am – The values of provenance.

10 minute overviews followed by discussions (2380 Lancaster Boardroom)
-Forensic artifact research. Part 2 – The controversial provenance of the Champlain astrolabe.
Randall Brooks.
-The niobium super conducting supply chain (research based on CSTM’s 1993 Philips MRI
machine). David Pantalony.
-Case studies from the Nazi provenance project at the National Gallery. Graham Larkin, NGC
curator of European and American Art.

10:00 to 10:30 am – Break

10:30 to 11:30 am – Visit to trade literature collection at the CSTM library. (2380 Lancaster Road)

11:30 am to 12:30 pm – Visit museum floor to share artifact and exhibit critiques (1867 St. Laurent

12:30 to 1:30 – Lunch

1:30 to 2:30 pm – Synthetic Materials in Museum Collections: Identification and Preservation.

A hands-on session with artifacts containing a variety of historic polymers.
Sue Warren, Manager of conservation, CSTM (Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)

2:30 to 4:30 pm – Researching the Summer Institute collection, with more choices for browsing
sessions in the collection – scientific instruments, computers, domestic technology, medical
technology etc. (Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)

Thursday August 20 – Spaces, artifacts and cross-fertilization


9:00 to 10:45 am – Photographs, artifacts and spaces. Case studies followed by a practical session
with selections from CN photograph collection. Annmarie Adams, McGill and David Theodore,
Harvard. (Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)

10:45 to 11:00 – Break

11:00 to 12:00 pm – Researching the Summer Institute artifacts with additional browsing sessions.
(Storage – 2495 Lancaster Road)

12:00 to 1:00 pm – Lunch (optional visit to the Green Artifact Spotlight The Colour of Medicine
with David Pantalony at 12:30 pm – Museum Floor)

1:00 to 4:00 pm – Visit to the Diefenbunker (Canada’s Cold war Museum).

Director Alexandra Badzak tours us with the theme “Bunker as a Cold War Artifact”
Bus pick up at CSTM at 1:00 pm. Bus drop off at National Gallery at 5:00pm.

5:00 to 6:00 pm – Materials, architecture and display: A tour of the National Gallery of Canada,
Graham Larkin, NGC curator of European and American Art.

6:00 to 7:30 pm – Dinner at the National Gallery of Canada.

Friday August 21 – Presentations

9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Reports and exchange on Summer Institute Artifacts.

Presentations will be posted on CSTM’s youtube and Flickr channels.

12:00 pm 1:00 pm – Lunch

1:00 to 4:00 pm – Optional research time in the library and collection. (Please notify David
Pantalony if there are any specific artifacts that you would like to study. An older on-line database is
available at Artefacts Canada. Go to the Advanced Search, select “Where” “Institution” “all Words”
and type in “Canada Science and Technology Museum” and your search the whole database or look
for specific items.

Summer Institute Faculty and Guest Speakers

Richard Kremer, Professor of History, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

Richard Kremer earned his PhD in the history of Science at Harvard and teaches in that area at
Dartmouth College, NH. He curates the King Collection of Historic Scientific Instruments and has
produced several exhibits at the Hood Museum. He also regularly teaches a freshman seminar on the
material culture of science that draws on materials from the King collection. His book on the
Dartmouth collection, jointly authored with David Pantalony and Frank Manasek, appeared in 2005.
Currently, Kremer is studying eighteenth-century wooden surveying compasses and the circulation
of designs, materials and personnel among the North American makers of these instruments.

Roland Wittje, Lecturer, University of Regensburg, Germany

Roland Wittje is a lecturer at the History of Science Unit of the University of Regensburg in
Germany. He has studied physics and history of science at the Carl von Ossietzky University of
Oldenburg and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. His research
interests include history of nineteenth and twentieth century physics, acoustics in the interwar
period, scientific instruments, and scientific heritage at universities.

Jean-François Gauvin, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University

Jean-François Gauvin is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University in Montréal

(Qc). Before accepting this position, he was a full-time Curator at the Collection of Historical
Scientific Instruments, Harvard University. For the past 10 years, he has studied instrumentation
from the 17th to the 20th centuries. For his dissertation (Harvard, 2008) he focused the research on the
relationship between artisans, savants and machines in early modern France. The dissertation is
entitled Habits of Knowledge: Artisans, Savants and Mechanical Devices in Seventeenth-Century
French Natural Philosophy. Since 2000, he has co-written and co-edited two prize-winning
volumes as well as several articles and book reviews dealing with instruments and instrument

Annmarie Adams, William C. Macdonald Professor, School of Architecture, McGill

University. MArch, PhD (UC Berkeley)

Annmarie Adams came to McGill University in 1990. An expert on the history of domestic
architecture, hospital design, and gendered space, she travels widely to lecture to university
audiences and community groups. She currently serves as a Mentor in the CIHR-funded training
program, Health Care Technology and Place at the University of Toronto. With colleagues, she is

involved in the post-professional option, Cultural Mediations and Technology at McGill University's
School of Architecture. In 2008 she was the first Arcus Scholar-in-Residence at the College of
Environmental Design, University of California at Berkeley, where she taught a graduate seminar
entitled Sex and the Single Building; Adams' latest book Medicine by Design: The Architect and the
Modern Hospital, 1893-1943 was published by the University of Minnesota Press in February 2008.
She is the author of Architecture in the Family Way: Doctors, Houses, and Women, 1870-1900 and
co-author of Designing Women: Gender and the Architectural Profession with sociologist Peta

Graham Larkin, Curator of European and American Art, National Gallery of Canada.

Graham Larkin received his PhD from Harvard’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture
in 2003 with his dissertation The Elusive Oeuvre of Jacques Callot. From 2003 to 2005 he was at
Stanford University in California, teaching classes in the history of prints, museums, and landscape
representation, with a special emphasis on baroque Europe. At both Harvard and Stanford Dr. Larkin
worked continuously in museums, organizing exhibitions of printed books and art, and teaching
most of his classes in the presence of original art objects. In addition to translations and exhibition
work at the Gallery, his publications include articles and reviews in Print Quarterly, Word & Image,
Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, and Harvard Design Magazine.

Alexandra Badzak [B.F.A.- Hon., M.C.Ed],

Executive Director, Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum

Alexandra Badzak is currently the Executive Director of the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War
Museum in Ottawa, Canada where, she is heading up a capital campaign for renovations and a full-
scale renewal of its exhibitions and programs. Alexandra was formally the Head of Public and
Professional Programs at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon where she worked for over ten years
as instructor, researcher, registrar, programs facilitator and curator. She was instrumental in the
creation of several innovative public and professional programs at the Mendel Art Gallery such as
the Reading Room, Artists by Artists, Writers by Writers, SaskTel Mendel Art Caravan, and Adopt-a-
Neighbourhood as well as facilitating several internationally focused projects including the Mendel
Art Gallery’s Curatorial Consortium as well as Box Hotel artist’s residency in Barcelona, Spain. She
has curated the nationally touring exhibitions Alison Norlen: Float and Daring Confessions:
Romance and the Modern-day Girl as well as Michael Hosaluk: Containment, Susan Shantz:
Canopy, Ellen Moffat: Blow, Spectre: Joanne Lyons and Terry Billings, and In Every Dream Home
with Dan Ring and the provincial touring exhibition 100 Years of Saskatchewan Art. She has also
facilitated many youth-based initiatives such as Revolution Session: Sk8teArt and DiverCity as well
as large-scale community-based projects such as SITE/unseen, Cold Culture, Flow: A Festival of Art
and Ecology, Naked City, and Living Artfully: A Celebration of Art and Ecology. Alexandra recently
presented at the prestigious Museums: World Forum at the University of Leicester in the United
Kingdom. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Master’s of Adult and Continuing
Education from the University of Saskatchewan.

Randall Brooks, Vice-President, Collections and Research, Canada Science and Technology
Museum Corporation

Randall Brooks is currently in the head of Collections and Research for the Canada Science and
Technology Museum Corporation, which includes three national museums – Science and
Technology, Aviation and Agriculture. Dr. Brooks has a background in astronomy and a PhD in the
History of Science from the University of Leicester, England. He has a special interest in assessing
the precision of scientific instruments and machines made from the 17th century particularly those
based on precision screws, e.g. astronomical micrometers, dividing engines and the scales divided on
them. He was editor of the Rittenhouse Journal for five years, and was curator of physical sciences
and space. He has prepared numerous exhibitions in Canada, researched and collected hundreds of
historic artifacts from across the country, and written extensively on the history of scientific
instruments. Dr. Brooks is also an authority on "forensic" examination of artifacts. Using state of the
art equipment, he has collaborated with the Canadian Conservation Institute to examine material and
manufacturing details on instruments.

Sue Warren, Manager of Conservation, Canada Science and Technology Museum

Sue Warren has a Master's Degree in Art Conservation from Queen's University, and has worked at
the Museum as a conservator for 20 years. Her special interest is in the treatment of horse-drawn
vehicles, and she has written articles and lectured on this topic in the US and the UK. She has also
published papers on Integrated Pest Management and Hazards in Collections of Industrial Artifacts.
In May 2010, Sue will be co-presenting a workshop on Conservation of Polymers, with the Canadian
Conservation Institute. The aim of this workshop is to familiarize conservators with the types of
plastics found in collections, their effects on surrounding materials, and options for preservation.

Anna Adamek, Curator of Natural Resources and Industrial Design, Canada Science and
Technology Museum

Anna Adamek is the curator of Natural Resources and Industrial Design at the Canada Science and
Technology Museum (CSTM). She specializes in the history of technology and material culture
studies, especially how theories play out in practical collection work. Her exhibit work and research
focuses on the semantics of material culture. Anna has an M.A. in History from the University of
Ottawa, and a BA in Literary History from the Jagiellonian University. She has been working in the
field of public history for nineteen years and is on the Board of Directors of the National Council on
Public History.

David Pantalony, Curator, Physical Science and Medicine, Canada Science and Technology
Museum (PhD Toronto)

David Pantalony is currently in charge of artifacts in the physical sciences, medicine, space,
computing, and exploration, with a growing interest in how these areas of material culture intersect
during the Cold War period. Last winter he mounted an artifact spotlight on the colour green in
medicine, with the hope of expanding research into the use of colour in scientific and medical
instruments. He is also working on a larger exhibition on medical imaging in Canada. Pantalony has

also studied the nineteenth-century precision trade in Paris. He has just completed a book on one of
the more colourful and prolific members of this scene, Rudolph Koenig, whose acoustical workshop
was a meeting place for musicians, scientists and artisans. Altered Sensations uses Koenig’s
surviving instruments (scattered in collections across Europe and North America) to enrich
traditional accounts of nineteenth-century science. In addition to collecting and researching at the
museum, he also teaches an undergraduate history course (U of Ottawa) using artifacts from the
museum’s collections.

Registration statements and bios of participants

Robert Bean: Professor in Media Arts at NSCAD University

Robert Bean is an artist, writer and teacher living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is currently a
Professor in Media Arts at NSCAD University. Bean has exhibited his work in solo and group
exhibitions in Canada, the United States, Europe, South America and New Zealand.

He has published articles on photography, art and cultural history and has completed numerous
curatorial projects. Bean has received grants and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the
Ontario Arts Council, the Nova Scotia Arts Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). In March 2007, Robert Bean received a SSHRC
Research/Creation grant to pursue a three-year investigation with co-applicant Ilan Sandler on the
subject of Obsolescence and the Culture of Human Invention. This project investigates language,
technology and artistic production in the context of digital media. The purpose of the research is to
document and produce interdisciplinary artwork influenced by the culture and language of
machines and obsolescence. Rather than presuming that obsolescence is inherently defined by loss
and nostalgia, we will actively engage methods of creation that generate and inspire production
concurrent with the processes of obsolescence. How can the excess of technological obsolescence
inspire creative activities and circumstances?

The specific research that I am conducting is focused on the history of writing machines and the
relationship that this technology has to contemporary digital technology, systems of inscription and
the use of voice recognition software in contemporary computer interface design. I am actively
engaged in the interpretation and re-presentation of artifacts such as typewriters and obsolete
writing systems such as phonographic shorthand.

Additional details on work by Robert Bean may be viewed at the following websites:

David Theodore, Trudeau Scholar. Ph.D. Architecture and Urban Planning, Harvard University.
Building Health: Hospital Environments as Medical Technology

I want to attend the institute because I am fascinated by the intersecting histories of architecture,
medicine, and technology. I like to concoct stories about the discipline of architecture and not just its

practitioners. That usually means paying attention to buildings as material culture artifacts,
especially the ways healthcare architecture both houses technological artifacts and is itself a

Melanie Frappier: Assistant professor, History of Science and Technology Programme

The University of King’s College

I am an assistant professor in the History of Science and Technology Programme at the University of
King’s College, Halifax, NS, but my training is in engineering physics and philosophy of science. So
anything that brings artefacts and conceptual analyses together in a historical framework is a passion
of mine (this and, strangely enough, thought experiments). More pragmatically, I want to learn how
to teach with and care for artefacts because I am going to be teaching the history of technology next
year and my programme is trying to build a teaching instrument collection.

Katharine Anderson: Associate Professor, Division of Humanities,

Science and Society ProgramYork, University, Bethune College, Toronto

I write about material practices in the history of the environmental sciences (meteorology,
oceanography) and would like to integrate artefact-based study more closely into teaching.

Nicholas Anderson: Ryerson / York Universities, Toronto

I am currently a PhD candidate (A.B.D.) in the Joint Program in communication and Culture at
Ryerson and York Universities. My research involves robots and other artificial life forms, the
rhetoric surrounding artificial intelligence and artificial life, and the constitution of human approach
primarily has to do with close readings of scientific texts-both popular and academic-fitting my work
loosely under the rubric of the rhetoric of science, I am also concerned with the rhetorical qualities
of technoscientific objects themselves. I believe that the nonlinguistic, though no less active,
expressivity of the nonhuman “things” involved in scientific inquiry is just as crucial as linguistic
statements made by human practitioners and commentators in the creation of scientific discourses
and the ‘truth effects” they produce. In other words, the material has is own persuasiveness that is
mobilized in unique ways in the sciences to establish its epistomelogical authority.

I wish to participate in this workshop in the interests of building upon this theoretical perspective in
collaboration with a group of like-minded colleagues. As a burgeoning scholar in science and
technology studies and technocultural studies, I feel this presents a unique opportunity for me to
further develop expertise in my fields, and to explore in greater depth a research approach that seems
to me is still in its emergence. I am very excited to interact physically with technoscientific artifacts
and thereby consider some of the particularities of science as an embodied practice as opposed to a
rarefield intellectual activity. I also look forward to working within the museum setting in order to
investigate how to navigate and make use of the resources housed in museum collections as well as
to learn about the curatorial practices involved in collecting and preserving technological artifacts.

Michael Da Silva: University of Toronto, Faculty of Las JD Program

In September, I am starting my JD at the University of Toronto in hopes of them enrolling in the

Joint JD-PhD Program after my first year. I want to focus on bioethical issues and think that the
presentation of scientific knowledge is key to proper bioethical conduct. As I argued in a recent
presentation on Ontario museums for the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of
Science, I believe the museum is an interesting location for the study of the apparent two cultures.
Even the presentation of scientific knowledge has an effect on other domains, particularly ethical
domains. As an educational resource that displays a particular representation of a subject and
provides interpretative panels of information, the museum holds one of the seats of knowledge that
effects even my own current discipline, viz., the law. Furthermore, as a former assistant at the
Corner Brook Museum and Archives, I have experience researching and designing exhibits. I am
intrigued by the prospect of seeing how exhibits are run at a national level.

Devon Elliott: University of Western Ontario

I am hoping to learn more about working with artifacts and collections from a material culture
perspective. One of my comprehensive fields is in the history of science and technology, and my
MA was completed in the field of Public History. My dissertation is a cultural history of stage
illusions at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The history of magic presents a point of
intersection between the human activities of performance, application of technical and technological
know-how, and the complicated consumption of those activities by both audiences and magicians. I
am interested in how that network of people and things created the effect of magic. Perspectives
from studies on material culture have influenced my work. I am interested in the performative
elements of illusion, and I am experimenting with the value of reproducing those illusions for insight
to apply to my research, and to explore the potential for communicating elements of that work.
Recent participation in the Hacking as a Way of Knowing workshop, hosted by Professors Edward
Jones-Imhotep and Bill Turkel, has encouraged me to continue pursuing those goals. The Reading
Artifacts workshop looks like an ideal place to learn about how others are working with material
culture in the realm of science and technology, and to explore and discuss those applications.

Denzil Ford: University of British Columbia

The Reading Artifacts workshop will expose me to techniques with which I may unleash exciting
ways of thinking about carbon dioxide. My dissertation will explore the emergence of this invisible
compound as it came to salience over the twentieth century and has come to indicate the potential of
humanity. I argue that we have not seen or fully described the spiritus Silvestre or “wild spirit” – Jan
Baptist can Helmont originally described carbon dioxide – that rang out as scientists characterized
relationships between this gas, human behavior, and temperatures of the entire planet. Examining
this object holds the potential to reveal understanding outside of disciplinary boundaries of how
things became targets of epistemic inquiry and how they emerged as tools used for explanation and
justification for research into new objects. Carbon dioxide will be one case study with which to
reveal changes to questions that were asked about the atmosphere and the modifications of work
structures in laboratories. Though this inquiry I aim to see how along with providing evidence for
global warming, the move from hand-made measuring devices to commercially constructed high-

precision devices used to detect carbon dioxide changed practices and political dynamics in
laboratories. I want to approach carbon dioxide not as a static compound in the atmosphere, ocean,
and earth’s crust that human technology tapped into and released, but rather as a multiplicity that did
real work and in most cases that did different work for different people. Over the course of the
twentieth century, its meaning transformed from simply a component of reality into a salient
scientific object capable of limiting human quality of life. I will focus on the practices of scientists
around carbon dioxide and the instruments used to detect it in hope of unveiling pivotal details of its
movement and emergence.

Adam Gwyndaf Garbutt: University of Toronto

My research focuses on Medieval science and technology, a subject that can be significantly
advanced through a greater knowledge of how to examine and understand material culture. While I
am aware that this program will be focusing on modern artifacts I hope to be able to apply the same
skills to my own work. I have also become involved in a project to catalogue and store the scientific
instruments at the University of Toronto. We are hoping to expand this project into the creation of a
museum of scientific instrumentation and training in dealing with and interpreting artifacts would be

Dorotea Gucciardo: University of Western Ontario

I am completing my PhD in the social history of electricity in Canada, and have a strong interest in
the history of technology. But, when examining artifacts, I don’t really know what to look for or
what sorts of questions to ask. I think this workshop will be a really great opportunity to learn more
about examining material culture, and how to use these resources in research and, I hope, teaching.

Jennifer Hayman: University of Ottawa

The study of material culture grows more relevant every day as advances in technology, science and
medicine increase by leaps and bounds. Those who work to discover the role these developments
have in the whole course of human civilization have a special trust, and require specific skills. As a
Ph.D. student of history at the University of Ottawa, whose thesis will be on the material history of
technology , and who will be the T.A. for a course in the material history of technology in the fall, I
feel this workshop would be excellent preparation. Although I have lectured for organizations such
as Upper Canada Village and the Billings Estate and written a book review for Material History
Review since receiving Master’s in Public History from Western, I am rejoining academia after
having taken time off to have children. My background in the material history of technology is
primarily in the study of needlework tools and fabric production; although, I have worked on the
sociological implications of the advent of the VCR as an international medium. I also have a strong
interest in the history of photography, and the use of photographs as historical documents. I would
benefit greatly from both the practical aspects of this workshop, and from the chance to learn current
sources for research, and I would relish the opportunity to learn from and work with experts – to “get
my hands dirty”, as it were, in the material history of science and technology.

Valerie Minnett: Carleton University

My dissertation research has led me to consider the relevance of medical and scientific artifacts to
historical work. Material culture analysis remains a largely under-utilized point of departure for
traditional historians, and I am interested in incorporating this approach in my own work and future
teaching practice.

John Morden: York University

My master’s thesis, to be completed within the following year under Professor Bernard Lightman,
concerns two areas of research: the sphere where science and aesthetics intersect and the use of
photography in the evolutionary debates over the latter 19th century. When I have completed my
thesis, I intend to continue my involvement with the history of photography and the technology of
early photography. I am interested in any information about equipment, images and teaching

Latif Nasser : Harvard, Cambridge

I have written several papers on specific instruments, both those I have had access to and those I
haven’t. My analysis of these instruments has been piecemeal and idiosyncratic; I hope to gain from
this short program a toolbox of skills that will help me approach any kind of instrument and see
through it and beyond it.

Elizabeth Neswald: Assistant professor, Brock University

As the first professor for the history of science and technology at Brock, I am interested in
establishing the field here through innovative methods of research and teaching. By integrating
objects and historical instruments into my teaching students will gain an appreciation of the unique
approaches in the HST field. Since many of my students continue on to qualify as teachers and
science teachers, exposure to the use of objects and material cultures approaches in my classes will
provide them with another teaching tool themselves.
My research has become increasingly instrument-oriented (animal and human calorimetry), and the
summer institute will also provide me with a framework for interpreting instrument descriptions,
actual instruments and experiment repots.

Sarah-Jane Patterson: IHPST University of Toronto

I have been working on an IHPST project developing the University of Toronto’s Scientific
Instrument Collection since the fall. There are two particular aspects to the project that I value: first,
I find the material objects of science fascinating, and reflective of far more than their precise
scientific use. An 18th century surveying instrument does not just inform a historian about the
methods of surveying. The materials and the methods of construction reflect socio-economic factors,

such as guild structure, trade agreements and political alignments. The methods of use are connected
to mathematical developments, the users’ concept or error, and the general structure of the scientific
community. However, I am unsure of the best method for intertwining a material catalogue of an
object with a broader project in the history of science.
Second, I would really love to get the Collection to the point that elements could be integrated into
the teaching curriculum at the Institute, if not in lectures, then definitely in tutorials. Undergraduate
students could have concrete and dynamic access to the history of science, and to have such a wealth
of historical objects at our disposal, and to not use them discredits the relevance of the history of
science to modern society. This objective requires that I learn more about how to work with objects
of material culture – handling procedures, effective ways of working them into lessons, and general
administrative structures for their management.
Beyond this project, I also begin my PhD in the fall and my project lies in the intersection of science,
instruments and politics – map construction in post-Napoleonic France and Britain, particularly
maps’ political uses. Hence, this workshop provides an excellent opportunity to enrich both of my
interests in the University of Toronto Scientific Instrument Collection, while also benefiting my
thesis project immeasurably.

Eli Purchase: University of Alberta/ Northern Life Museum, North West Territories

I am completing my Masters Degree in Material Culture and the Preventive Conservation of

Museum Artifacts. I believe that this Institute matches up well with my field of study and that it
would be an excellent opportunity for me to experience new ideas in that area. Being from Northern
Canada I would bring a different perspective to the Institute and would e able to highlight areas of
northern importance to this area of study. This Institute would also provide me with a venue to learn
and share my ideas and knowledge and get a truly national perspective on what artifacts can teach us
about science and technology in Canada today.

Sonja Pushchak: York University

I am in the process of researching a master’s thesis under my advisor Bernard Lightman. My thesis
involves Darwinist influence on literature, specifically the type of publication knows as the
yellowback. I am also interested in how print technologies were aimed at different markets.
Peripherally, I would also appreciate any information on Victorian illustration and/or photography in

Jenna Smith: Carleton University

I am a graduate student finishing up a Master’s in Public History. My research interests are in the
history of medicine and health care in Canada. This seems like a great mix of my interests and
sounds like a great opportunity.

Silvia Spampinato: McGill University – School of Architecture


I would like to express my interest in artifacts with an image. Artifacts lie for me at the centre of a
spiraling path, they are the arrival point of my investigation through various disciplines and
approaches. After having researched problems in sociology, urban planning, heritage preservation,
and cultural landscapes studies I found myself constantly returning to artifacts as the richest, most
powerful evidence. Their physical presence makes them fascinating witnesses and strong
communicators as we can all immediately relate to objects.
To participate in the Summer Institute by the Canada Science and Technology Museum is therefore
for me a unique opportunity to deepen my knowledge of how to work with artifacts, as I aspire to a
career in a museum setting after my studies. I believe similar occasions are quite rare, when a team
of professionals of some of the most important Canadian institutions in the field are united. For this
reason, even though I will spend the month of August in Italy for my thesis fieldwork, I will return
to Canada to participate in the Institute, despite the extra financial effort that this will imply.
By the end of 2009 I will complete my Masters of Architecture – Cultural Landscapes option – at
McGill. While in this program and thanks to my professor Annemarie Adams, I had the pleasure to
work with the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead (Eastern Townships), a house museum. My
research has focused on the Victorian kitchen and its technology in relation to the worldview and
aspirations of the women of the house. I then participated to the conception of the new permanent
exposition for this space.
In my precious degree at McGill (Master of Urban Planning), I used historic photographs and
paintings to investigate how the industrial worldview has shaped the relation of the city of Montreal
with its aquatic environment. During the 2008 Université Laval’s Summer School in Gaspésie, I had
the change to work with Tania Martins on the area’s religious artifacts.

Ioana Teodorescu: McGill University

My PhD thesis focuses on the spatial relationships in the Canadian postwar house. Besides looking
at plans promoted by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in the 1950s and 1060s, I am
considering the intersection between the ideals embodied in these proposed plans and the lived
realities experienced by people who built houses from such plans. Objects in theses houses are as
much part of this actual space; all the more so, if we look at the impact which technology ahs had in
the lives of the postwar generations. As a PhD student touching on material culture aspects, I am
certain that working with leading scholars and museologists in exploring period artifacts can only
enhance my understanding of the available collections.
I live in Ottawa and I have been a constant visitor of the Museum of Technology, often hoping I
could look in more detail at the fascinating objects “behind the glass”. This summer institute proves
a wonderful opportunity to do so in a familiar setting and with scholars whose knowledge I could
share and expand on in my future research and teaching career.

Henry Trim: University of British Columbia

I am currently doing my PhD at the University of British Columbia. I focus on the history of
Technology, specializing on the history of the Alternative Technology movement in Canada and the
United States. I believe attending this workshop will help me lay the foundations for thesis by
gaining a better understanding of how Science and Technology developed in Canada.
I look forward to taking part in a workshop that promises to be both educational and enjoyable.

Jaipreet Virdi: IHPST University of Toronto

My research focuses on the relationship between medical practitioners, instruments, and society. I
am thus interested in material culture, artifact history and the social analysis of instruments. As well,
I am an active member of the University of Toronto’s University of Scientific Instrument Collection
and wish to gain hands-on experience with artifact handling.

Erich Weidenhammer: IHPST University of Toronto

I would like to participate in this workshop primarily because of my involvement with the University
of Toronto Scientific Instrument Collection. This is an effort to catalogue the historical scientific
instruments owned by the various departments at the U of T. It was started by students at the IHPST
earlier this year. It builds on a great deal of earlier work including the UTMuSI website. I have been
deeply involved with this effort from the start. Once it gets off the ground, this project promises to
make available a large number of historically significant instruments to researchers, teachers, and
This workshop represents an important opportunity for those members of our group who are able to
attend to receive training in handling, researching, cataloguing, and storing these instruments (many
of which are of significant intellectual and commercial value). It provides us a chance to meet and
collaborate with students and faculty from a variety of institutions involved in similar projects.
Moreover, it is also an opportunity to expand out academic skills into an important area of historical
research in HPS: the study of material culture.
My own academic interests lie in the eighteenth century at the intersection between natural
philosophy and medicine. Recently, my research has turned towards the gathering of meteorological
instrument date for medical purposes in the Enlightenment. Two closely related examples may be
worth mentioning: the instruments used by the Edinburgh Medical Society over the period 1732 and
1742, and the instruments acquired by the Royal Society during the presidency of the Edinburgh
trained physician John Pringle (1772-1778). This workshop, with its focus on contextual
interpretation of instruments, will prove extremely useful should I have the opportunity to study and
compare these instruments and their uses.

Siddhartha Della Santina: University of British Columbia

In my graduate work I have become increasingly interested in material cultures and the manner in
which artifacts, particularly those of scientific and artistic interest, can and have employed to
mediate meaning. I am currently researching a doctoral thesis which, in the context of newly unified
Italy in the 1860s, and in Florence in particular, explores the development of museums as scientific,
didactic, and, ultimately, political institutions. Issues of collecting, interpreting, selecting, conserving
and displaying artifacts are of course central to this history in which the museum becomes a crucial
point of connection between the public and academy. The artifact itself, in this process, acquires a
very special status. Not only do I envisage this workshop helping me to articulate and unpack the
role of the artifact, but, through a first hand encounter, giving me invaluable insight into the manner
in which museums employ artifacts, envisage their work and organize their displays. Moreover, the

historical research I am conducting on museums has lead me to appreciate the ways in which I
myself might employ artifacts in my own future teaching-and in this respect too, I believe, this
workshop will be greatly enriching.

Selected bibliography for Summer Institute,

August 17-21. CSTM, Ottawa, Canada.
A selection from Pantalony and Kremer’s artifact seminars:

Blondel, Christine and Dörries, Matthias, eds. Restaging Coulomb. Florence: Olschki, 1994.
Essays by Peter Heering and John L. Heilbron.

Blume, S. “What ever happened to the string and sealing wax?” In Invisible connections, ed. Robert
Bud, et al., pp. 87-101. Bellingham, WA, 1992.

Brand, S. (1994). How Buildings Learn. New York: Viking.

Brooks, Randall C. “Forty years of analytical studies.” Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society
(2004), 82: 4-9.

Jim Bennett (2000). “Beyond understanding: Curatorship and access in science museums,” in
Museums of Modern Science, Svante Lindqvist (ed). Science History Publications/USA, pp. 55-60.

Connor, J.T.H. (1992) “Communicating through Artifacts,” in Presenting the Past and
Understanding the Present: Health Care in Newfoundland and Labrador Museums, Crellin, J.K.
(ed). St. John’s: Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Eversmann, Pauline K., et al. “Material culture as text: Review and reform of the literacy model for
interpretation.” In American material culture, ed. Ann S. Martin and J. Ritchie Garrison, pp. 135-67.
Winterthur, Deleware, 1997.

Fleming, E. McClung. “Artifact study: A proposed model.” In Material culture studies in America,
ed. Thomas J. Schlereth, pp. 162-73. Nashville, 1982.

Gordon, R. B. (1996). American iron, 1607-1900. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Gordon, R. B., & Malone, P. M. (1994). The texture of industry: an archaeological view of the
industrialization of North America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gossel, Patricia Peck (1999). “Packaging the Pill.” In Manifesting Medicine: Bodies and Machines.
Robert Bud, Bernard Finn, and Helmuth Trischler (eds.) Amsterdam:
Harwood Academic Publishers, pp. 105–21.

Hamilton, Michelle A. and Shelley McKellar (2006). Learning through Objects: Development of the
UWO Medical Artifact Collection as a Teaching and Research Resource. Canadian Bulletin of
Medical History vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 219-243.

Hindle, Brooke. “Technology through the 3-D time warp.” Technology and culture 24 (1983), 450-
64. Available at JSTOR (Dartmouth College Library).

Hosler, D. (1994). The sounds and colors of power: the sacred metallurgical technology of ancient
West Mexico. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Hutchins, Edwin Cognitive artifacts. The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, RA Wilson
& FC Keil (eds), Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp 126-128, 1999.

Hutchins, Edwin (1995) Cognition in the Wild. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Hutchins, E. “Material anchors for conceptual blends.” Journal of Pragmatics. 37:1555-1577, 2005.

Lourenço, Marta C. Between two worlds: The distinct nature and contemporary significance of
university museums and collections in Europe PhD dissertation
Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris
October, 2005

Maquet, Jacques. “Objects as instruments, objects as signs.” In Lubar and Kingery, eds., pp. 30-40.

Vladimir Nabokov’s short story “The Visit to the Museum.”

David Pantalony Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Acoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century

Paris, Springer, (Introduction and Ch. 1.) (publication date, August 2009).

David Pantalony “What is it? Twentieth-Century Artifacts out of Context.” HSS Newsletter, July

David Pantalony, Richard L. Kremer, and Francis J. Manasek (2005) Study, Measure, Experiment:
Stories of Scientific Instruments at Dartmouth College. Norwich VT.

Prown, Jules David. “The truth of material culture: History or fiction?” In History from things:
Essays on material culture, ed. Steven Lubar and W. David Kingery, pp. 1-19. Washington, D.C.,
1993. Read before we examine several artifacts via the “Wintherthur Protocol.”

Schaffer, Simon. “Object lessons.” In Museums of modern science, ed. Svante Lindqvist, pp. 62-76.
Canton, MA, 2000.

Taylor, Joshua C. Learning to Look: A Handbook for the Visual Arts, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1981.

Thomas Söderqvist, Director of the Museum of Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, has a
blog with cutting-edge museum issues related to medicine, science and technology at

Jean-Francois Gauvin’s suggestions:

Davis Baird, Thing Knowledge. A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments


(University of California Press, 2004).

Randall Brooks, “A Problem of Provenance:

A Technical Analysis of the "Champlain" Astrolabe,” CARTOGRAPHICA, VOL. 36, # 3, FALL

T. Brundtland, “From medicine to natural philosophy: Francis Hauksbee's way to the air-pump,”
BJHS 41 (2008): 209-240.

L. Daston, ed. Things that Talk (Zone Books, 2005)

(Intro by Daston; soap bubbles by Schaffer)

J.F. Gauvin, “Einstein's Blackboard as Mutant Object”

Michael Mahoney, “Reading a Machine”

Roland Wittje’s suggestions

PETER HEERING “The enlightened microscope: re-enactment and

analysis of projections with eighteenth-century
solar microscopes.” BJHS 41(3): 345–367, September 2008.

Marta C. Lourenço “Working with words or with objects?

The contribution of university museums” Meeting, Do Collections Matter to Instrument Studies?
Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, 30 June 2002

Heinz Otto Sibum. “Reworking the Mechanical Value of

Heat: Instruments of Precision and
Gestures of Accuracy in Early
Victorian England” Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci.. Vol. 26, No. 1. pp. 73-106, 1995

ADELHEID VOSKUHL, “Recreating Herschel's actinometry: An essay in

the historiography of experimental practice”
BJHS, 1997, 30, 337-55.

Annmarie Adams articles:

Annmaire Adams research methods course website:

Annmarie Adams and Kevin Schwartzman

Pneumothorax Then and Now, Space and Culture 2005; 8; 435

Adams, Annmarie. "The Eichler Home: Intention and Experience in Postwar Suburbia," Gender,
Class, and Shelter: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture V, ed Elizabeth Collins Cromley and
Carter L. Hudgins, 164-78.

Adams, A., Theodore, D. , McKeever, P., "Pictures of Health: SickKids Exposed," Depicting
Canada’s Children, edited by Loren Lerner (Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press).

Jacalyn Duffin, “Sleuthing and Science: How to Research a Question in Medical History,” in
History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction, 360-75.

Anna Adamek’s suggestions:

Elizabeth S. Chilton, "Material Meanings and Meaningful Materials," in Material Meanings :

Critical Approaches to the Interpretation of Material Cultur, ed. Chilton (Salt Lake City: the
University of Utah Press, 1999).

Henry Glassie, "Studying Material Culture Today," in Living in a Material World : Canadian and
American Approaches to Material Culture, ed. Gerald L. Pocius (St. Johns : Institute of Social and
Economic Research, 1991)

Gerald L. Pocius, "Material Culture Research : Authentic Things, Authentic Values," Material
History Review 45 (Spring 1997):5-15.

Jules David Prown, "On the Art In Artifacts," in Living in a Material World : Canadian and
American Approaches to Material Culture, ed. Gerald L. Pocius (St. Johns: Institute of Social and
Economic Research, 1991).

Christopher Tilley, "Locating a grammar. Material culture, writing." in Material Culture and Text :
the Art of Ambiguity (London; New York: Routledge, 1991);

Christopher Tilley, "Solid Metaphor: the Analysis of Material Forms," Metaphor and Material
Culture (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999).

Here are a few articles that provide a more unorthodox approach to material culture:
Mikhail Bakhtin, "Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel," The Dialogic Imagination
(Austin: University Texas Press, 1981) - the concept of the chronotope has been borrowed by some
historians to explain history as a narrative recreation of one chronotope in a different time and space.

Articles addressing gender issues:

Eva Feder Kittay. 1988. “Woman as Metaphor,” Hypatia, 3, no. 2:63-86.

Celeste M. Condit. 2001. “Blueprints and Recipes: Gendered Metaphors for Genetic Medicine.”
Journal of Medical Humanities, 22, no. 1:29-39.

Roberta Bivins. 2000. “Sex Cells : Gender and the Language of Bacterial Genetics.” Journal of the
History of Biology, 33:113-139.

Stewart Guthrie. 2007. “Bottles are men, glasses are women.” Material Religion: The Journal of
Objects, Art and Belief, 3, no. 1, (March):14-33.

Sue Warren’s suggestions:

Katz, S. Classic Plastics: from Bakelite to High Tech, Thames & Hudson, 1984

Kaufman, M. The First Century of Plastics, The Plastics and Rubber Institute 11 Hobart Place,
London, 1963.

Keneghan, B and Egan, L ed. Plastics: Looking at the Future and Learning from the Past,
Archetype Publications, 2008

Shashoua, Y. Conservation of Plastics, Butterworth Heineman, 2008

Williams, R. S. "Care of Plastics: Malignant Plastics" WAAC Newsletter, January 2002, Volume
24, No. 1.

A very important reference is to the website of the Plastics Historical Society in the U.K.:

Robert Hicks of the Mütter Museum has also provided some helpful resources:

Caple, Chris. Objects: Reluctant Witnesses to the Past. London: Routledge, 2006.

Deetz, James. In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life. New York:
Anchor, 1996.

Durbin, Gail; Morris, Susan, and Sue Wilkinson. A Teacher’s Guide to Learning From Objects.
English Heritage, 1993.

Rothbart, Daniel. Philosophical Instruments: Minds and Tools at Work. Chicago: University of
Illinois Press, 2007.

You might also like