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University museum


Upcoming: The Secret of the Wooden Books. Esthetics, Education, and Ecology

24 June to 29 October 2017

The exhibition The Secret of The Wooden Books unravels the mystery of the three wooden books in the collection of the University of Groningen. Attention is also paid to the esthetic, educational and ecological aspects of the material wood. The exhibition in the Student Exhibition Lab is made by master students in Art History of the University of Groningen, under supervision of professor Ann-Sophie Lehmann.

Wooden Books

Wood collections, or xylotheques, appeared at the end of the eighteenth century and could hold over 200 wooden books of different sorts of wood. Each book was made from different parts of one specific type of wood and meant to teach people about the different types. The books are testimony to the increasing ecological awareness at the end of the eighteenth century. By taking these books as a starting point, the exhibition shows the esthetic, didactic and ecological aspects of wood and shows how people through the ages have worked with the material.

Where do the three books in the collection of the University of Groningen come from? And why are there only three? For a long time all kinds of stories were told about these books. Some believed they were stolen from the University of Franeker, others said they were once part of a xylotheque of which the other books were lost during the big fire in the Academy Building in 1906. The Secret of the Wooden Books will unravel the mystery of the three wooden books.

Last modified:13 August 2021 3.23 p.m.
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