The Virtual Teaching Collection

Spring, 1995

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.