This week I’m posting two examples of timelines:

British Library: http://www.bl.uk/learning/timeline/index.html

Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=07&region=euwb#/Overview

These timelines use works of art, manuscripts, and objects to represent British medieval history. They are also examples of museums or libraries using their own collections for this purpose. On the museum/library side, how does the timeline make a collection ‘come to life?’ Is the timeline an effective tool for the museum or library? How do these work similarly or differently when taken into the physical space of the museum or library (see Lubar)?

These timelines seek to contextualize objects by showing relationships between objects, events, and people throughout time and in one visual schema. One major difference between the MET and BL timelines is the ability of the user to manipulate and create his or her own timeline(s). What affect does this have on the representation of history and the “spatial rhetoric” involved in the creation of multiple and individual histories?

The BL timeline, for example, allows the viewer to overlap different timelines according to his or her own interests. I overlapped politics with art and literature. What do you think of “overlapping” as a tool? Is there a “spacial rhetoric” to overlapping? What are the advantages/disadvantages of this type of spatial organization? The BL also privileges images in its timeline. How does this contrast with the MET timeline and what affect does it have on the viewer?

 

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