THE Museum has joined a consortium of museums and other institutions in a project supported by HEFCE – the funding council for higher education – to promote object-based teaching in archaeology and the history of science. Based at the Whipple Museum and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, this is a three-year project to produce a teaching resource in the form of ‘virtual’ collections of objects.
| The ‘Virtual Teaching Collection’, as it has been christened, will take the form of pictorial databases, probably held on CD-ROM, containing images of objects from the combined collections, together with relevant texts, and software tools to search the collection and even to create virtual exhibitions.
| While many historians of science will subscribe to the importance of instruments and experiments in fashioning science, few have the resources to use objects in teaching. With a flexible virtual collection at their disposal, lecturers will be able to alter the way they teach, and students will be given access to a novel resource that could form a starting point for their own work.