An application from four museums, co-ordinated by the Museum of the History of Science, is one of twelve selected for grant aid from Directorate-General X of the European Commission in its recent programme in support of museum ‘twinning’.
The grant will go towards a collaborative project dealing with the European development of practical mathematics as represented by surviving instruments. The other partners in the project are the British Museum, the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, and the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence.
The project will last three years and its outcome will be a shared database of images and texts, available to museum visitors and students via gallery computers. Users will be able to do searches that go beyond the collections on display, compare designs of instruments, and learn more about the relationships between different manufacturing centres as sites of technical and artistic development.
Exploring this database will, it is hoped, provide insights into the spread of a common intellectual movement throughout Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as well as demonstrating the importance of material culture as a medium for the transfer of learning, artistry and skills.