MUSTS launches exhibit and book “Unboxed”


MUSTS has launched a public display exhibit, a book and postcards on Instruments for science and technology in Centre Céramique.


Since when do we have water- and gas-meters at home? How did the siren we hear at the first Monday of each month come about? What did old laboratory-instruments, such as the camera lucida or the cloud chamber, serve to investigate? How did doctors learn to listen with their stethoscopes and see with röntgen-images? Why do older people use different gestures for phones than younger generations? What makes an electric plug more than a plug?

Researchers of the MUSTS group adopted 23 scientific instruments and technical artefacts from the collection of Centre Céramique, a public library and cultural heritage centre in Maastricht. These include mundane objects too, such as a handdrill, bulb or a simple key. The instruments had remained in storage for years, but are now displayed at the centre—literally and figuratively, they were “unboxed” by the researchers. The instruments will be on display in groups: every two months, a window case positioned amidst books on science and technology will show a fresh group of instruments until all adopted instruments have had their turn.

Photo credits: Cyrus Mody and Joeri Bruyninckx

The public exhibition display is accompanied by a book in Dutch and English, (published by Verloren, Hilversum, edited by Karin Bijsterveld and with pictures by Eric Bleize), which collects the short essays that MUSTS researchers wrote. In addition, free postcards with QR codes, referring recipients to the artefacts and stories, are distributed.

The book is available for sale in hard copy via the publisher. A digital copy is available here.