Journal Article

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  • Mineral displays as embodiments of geological thought and colonial invisibility
    Hearth, S., Robbins, C.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 10, pages 3 - 17

    Mineral displays embodied how we think about minerals: as symbols of social status, scholarly tools, theological objects, and instruments of education. Mineral displays are also representations of how we don’t think about minerals: as human products embedded in wider human histories. This paper reviews the historical themes in mineral display, from the cabinets of curiosity of the Renaissance to modern museums, and articulates a major narrative that has been omitted from mineral display traditions: the human processes that bring mineral specimens from the ground to the display case, particularly Western colonialism and labour. Historically, mineral displays have been used to provoke thought about mineral formation and wider Earth processes; here, too, mineral displays can be used to provoke thought about the human processes that created modern Geology.

    **Note that this article is open-access. Other articles in Volume 10 are available to members only for 1 year after publication**

    Keywords: Mineral collections, mineral displays, history of science, history of geology