A Curious Conversation
A temporary installation jointly commissioned by St Albans Museums and University of Hertfordshire Galleries
A Curious Conversation was the second phase of a three year residency at the Museum of St Albans, where I worked alongside staff and volunteers to make their collections visible and accessible to the general public whilst the Museum was closed for redevelopment. I was particularly interested in a one-day public event that took place in St Albans in 1880, called a Conversazione; it brought together a range of historical objects, curiosities and works of art from private collections. The exhibition was such a success that it lead to the foundation of what was to become the Museum of St Albans.
A list of the works displayed, and their donors, appeared in the Herts Advertiser; this became my inspiration for creating A Curious Conversation, which saw me take on the roles of curator, artist and collector. The installation showcased objects from the Museums’ collection, including archaeology, art, natural history and social history, alongside new artworks inspired by my research. These artworks, along with the objects I collected, echoed ‘lost’ items from the Conversazione, where there was no similar object in today’s Museum collection. They were a response to descriptions such as ‘framed needlework on perforated card’, ‘2 baskets of silkworm cocoons’, and ‘collection of New Zealand savage curiosities’.
A Curious Conversation toured a number of venues in and near St Albans throughout the summer, including St Albans Hospital, community centres, the Maltings shopping centre, St Albans Cathedral and the University of Hertfordshire.
Further information can be found at: https://uhartsresident.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/lyndall-phelps-museology/