Browse Exhibits (4 total)

The Material Past: Negotiating the Spiritual and Secular in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

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Welcome to the online version of The Material Past: Negotiating the Spiritual and Secular in the Medieval and Early Modern World, presented by the Department of Special Collections, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries.

This exhibit focuses on the importance of material items in the lives of those who lived in the medieval and early modern world.  Manuscripts and texts played an extremely important role in the lives of many.  Spiritually, these texts became physical icons of an intangible faith.  Manuscript documents pertaining to law, business, and society were the only reliable way to ensure a transaction or proceeding, and thus ensured power to the owner.  Materials relating to the sciences were able to teach and explain phenomena, through pictures and sometimes detailed experimentation, of many facts that were for the first time explained in natural terms.  An examination of the production and re-use of medeival manuscripts highlights not only the materiality of the texts themselves but also the practices, traditions, and artistry of their creators and owners. 

Explore the pages below to examine some specific examples of material objects held at the Department of Special Collections and learn of the impact they had in the medieval and early modern world.

Surveying Shakespeare: Medicine and Magic

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Surveying Shakespeare: Medicine and Magic focuses on issues of medical practice and occult knowledge as they appear in Shakespeare’s works. From Ophelia’s and Oberon’s flowers and herbs to women’s agency and the early modern period’s dependence on natural resources, these exhibits complicate our contemporary view of Renaissance medical practice.

Surveying Shakespeare, with support from the Department of English and the Department of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a series of exhibits that represent the work of nine undergraduate students enrolled in “Shakespeare for Non-Majors” during the fall 2015 semester. Committed to historical and literary storytelling, this series demonstrates these students respect for the past and the archives and historians that protect it.

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Surveying Shakespeare: Law and Power

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Surveying Shakespeare: Law and Power focuses on significant issues of England's legal history as they appear in Shakespeare’s works. From Salic Law to censorship and propaganda, these exhibits complicate our contemporary view of Renaissance culture.

Surveying Shakespeare, with support from the Department of English and the Department of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a series of exhibits that represent the work of nine undergraduate students enrolled in “Shakespeare for Non-Majors” during the fall 2015 semester. Committed to historical and literary storytelling, this series demonstrates these students respect for the past and the archives and historians that protect it.

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Surveying Shakespeare: Marriage and Gender

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Surveying Shakespeare, with support from the Department of English and the Department of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a series of exhibits that represent the work of nine undergraduate students enrolled in “Shakespeare for Non-Majors” during the fall 2015 semester. Committed to historical and literary storytelling, this series demonstrates these students respect for the past and the archives and historians that protect it.