Access to Objects
There are a number of ways in which Higher Education can get access to objects, some of which I will blog about more in future. but just to get this started a (probably very incomplete) list:
Most obviously probably are museums, which often, but not always, collect and give access to objects. Here you can find curated exhibitions, where objects have been pre-selected and arranged in a formal display. Some you might be able to touch and handle, possibly in specially arranged sessions.
Museums also tend to have lots of objects that are not on display. It may be possible to get access to objects from a catalogue, or even explore the museum stores. This depends on the access policy of the museum and if you are working with students probably space and numbers.
Universities often have their own museums, galleries or collections. Here access to objects is usually easier for students, because it is probably part of the mission of the collection, and they often grew out of teaching collections initially.
Some of these teaching collections are handling collections, where rules of access are slightly different and objects may be handled without gloves, in some items can be taken apart or even borrowed.
But objects to be used in learning and teaching don’t necessarily have to come from a formal collection, they are all around us, so they can also come from personal collections of enthusiasts or simply the home – a possibility that should not be discounted.
And then there are also the virtual objects, images that are accessed through the internet, books or magazines, which bring their own problematic, because here we obviously do not have a three-dimensional or even tactile encounter, but they probably should not be discounted.