This metal box was used by Robert Dick (1811-1866) for collecting mosses.
Photos thanks to Caithness Horizons.
I’ve used it as the starting point for my new work.
The ideas are a culmination of research and work with Caithness Horizons museum curator, Joanne Howdle, I’ve been doing over the past few years about their Robert Dick collection of pressed herbarium sheets and samples in paper wrappers.
I want to tell the story about what happened to the plants after Robert Dick picked them.
He was also well know for his long walks.
Boxes with self contained info, as well as objects, and have to be opened by the public to explore them, are themes which have continued to appear on other projects every now and then. http://www.joannekaar.com
Here is my prototype Robert Dick portable museum / museum of curiosity.
It doesn’t look very exciting. That’s the idea – the inside is to be a surprise.
The prototype is made from card and black sticky tape. It is the same proportions as Robert Dick’s moss collecting box – just bigger.
The final one will be made out of aluminium. There will be a handle on the top (and perhaps on the sides as well – it will have to be easily carried by one person, ideally with one hand.
Wild flowers pop-up, the sides of the box become display boards, shelves slide out from the front and sides. A Robert Dick inspired board game opens out to the front.
There will only be one or two items you will be able to remove from the box completely, one will be the original book about Robert Dick, by Samuel Smiles printed in 1878 and given to my by blog follower, Faisal, who found it in a charity shop in Australia and sent it to me. The other item will be a DVD about the Robert Dick collection and work it has inspired.
Yesterday was the first journey for the prototype – I took it so show Joanne Howdle and also staff from Strathnaver Museum who were in Caithness Horizons on a training day.
I wanted them to experience opening the box to discover what was inside (I didn’t show them any photos of what to expect beforehand).
The magic worked, even on rickety cardboard and sticky tape box with post-it stickers indicating the imagery, they were excited to see how it opened out to a display.
There is of course much yet to do, but I’ll keep you posted as it develops.
Written by Joanne B Kaar