Every year, students from Catherine Golden’s Victorian Illustrated Book class work with Special Collections staff to present an exhibit of books from the Norman Fox Collection.
This year's student exhibit explores one dichotomy present during the Victorian era, which witnessed the rise of animal protection, zoos, veterinary medicine, cattle and sheep breeding, vegetarianism, antivivisection, pet keeping, and dog and cat shows, but at the same time, beheld big game hunting, blood sports, animal abuse, a burgeoning fashion industry that threatened animal populations, and widespread fears of our animal ancestry, sparked by Darwinian evolution.
Entitled "Human and Animals on Display: A Victorian Menagerie," five cases were created (four in the Harris Lobby and one in the Pohndorff Room) that exhibit these human-animal interactions in culture and literature with particular attention to animal protection and endangerment, domination over the animal kingdom, humanized animals, and fantastical creatures (flying horses, mermaids, and magical hares).
This semester, the student exhibit was "Past and Present: An Illustrated Look at Regency and Victorian Times Versus Today," and examined aspects of our modern age in relation to Regency and Victorian tomes, specifically focusing on "past" and "present" in beverage consumption, fashion, popular icons, childhood, and entertainment.
The students developed five cases which provided an illustrated look of how our present world resembles and departs from the past and hopfully rekindles interest in the long 19th century, the dawning of our modern era.
Students move from book selection to installation of the exhibit: