The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages (ARMA)

Ever wondered about reading culture during the Middle Ages?

Carving (crucifixion scene)/Ivory/17th century AD/The Hunt Collection/PD

Ever wondered who read books in the Middle Ages? And what types of books did people read? Do we know if different books were read in different settings or by different groups of people such as monks, the aristocracy or the public? And what influence did the development of reading culture have on Europe?

Since October 2020 The Hunt Museum has been collaborating with libraries from across Europe on a project that will try to  answer these questions. Collaborating institutions involved in The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages project (ARMA) will digitise medieval manuscripts and medieval objects and sharing these with rich descriptions on Europeana, a European repository for European digital cultural heritage. Digital manuscripts and objects will be shared with IIIF manifests a novel tool for sharing images that will enrich learning and research opportunities. Over 50 will be digitised in 3D further enhancing the possibilities of our objects.

The project will use its rich medieval collection to give context to the theme of medieval reading culture. Using museum objects such as inkwells, mortars and seals, we can illustrate how manuscripts were made. Many objects are inscribed with a medieval script or indicate reading in different settings such as monasteries, courts or universities, others are rich in symbolism which aided understanding for those with low levels of literacy.

As well as publishing a collection of objects on Europeana, the Hunt Museum will create editorials such as blogs and galleries. The museum will also create and share learning resources for primary and secondary students learning about calligraphy, inks, dyes & gold, the making of medieval manuscripts and reading through the ages and so through videos, games and interactive PDFs.

More information on the project and the project partners are available on the project

Project Partners

‘The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages’ is a collaborative project with European partners:

  • National and University Library of Slovenia
  • Leiden University Libraries
  • Brugge Public Library
  • Stichting Europeana
  • Bibliotheque nationale de France
  • Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
  • National Library of the Czech Republic

The project is co-financed by the EU (CEF programme).

Funded with thanks from:

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