Participants contemplate ventriloquising an artificial leg at the 2007 Annual Conference

Participants contemplate ventriloquising an artificial leg at the 2007 Annual Conference

What would Faraday’s magnets say if asked to tell you their life story? This pilot project is investigating the creative writing of ‘object autobiographies’ as an educational resource in history of science.

Narratives in the voice of non-humans were used in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century education both to develop young people’s powers of empathy and to communicate and popularize science to them. See for example The Autobiography of an Electron by Charles R Gibson (1911), or John Cargill Brough’s carbon atom in his Fairy Tales of Science (1859).

Award-winning poet and author, Deborah Tyler-Bennett, facilitated our first pilot event on 13th March 2007, and we are grateful to the group from Chinnor U3A who took part and gave us their feedback. Object stories produced for this pilot by members of the BSHS Outreach and Education Committee can be found here:

Another Object Stories session ran as part of Outreach Day at the BSHS Annual Conference in Manchester in June 2007.

We welcome opinions from educators and curators on how best to use short autobiographical narratives for teaching and interpreting museum collections: please contact us at [email protected].