The art of knowledge: educational botanical wall charts 1870 - 1960 > About the collection

From the series 'Ausl䮤ische Kulturpflanzen in farbigen Wandtafeln': Musa sapientum. By H. Zippel and C. Bollmann.It is estimated that some 10,000 educational charts are preserved by Dutch universities. The subjects of these charts vary from obstetrics to art history, but by far the greater part – almost half of the total – is related to the teaching of botany.

In 2005, the Stichting Academisch Erfgoed, involved in the conservation of the Dutch universities’ heritage, rounded off the 'National Project Academic Educational Wall Charts'. In the course of this particular project, thousands of educational wall charts were subjected to close examination and assessment.

Well-considered choices with respect to preservation, restoration and digitization could be made by comparing the chart collections of different universities to one another. Choices were facilitated by classifying the charts into a number of categories. Various aspects demanded attention: the historic ties between the charts and the respective universities, their state of preservation and whether or not they were unique. This site features the educational botanical charts placed in the two categories with the highest ranking.

The collection of charts on view here is a fair sample of the huge array of educational botanical charts residing with the Dutch universities. The brightly coloured flowers and stylised microscopic reproductions make for beautiful pictures. Worth mentioning, is that most of the Latin names of the plants have been translated into Dutch especially for this site. This enables Dutch visitors to recognize many indoor and outdoor plants on the historic pictures.

In many cases, the actual educational wall charts that have been digitized on behalf of this site may be viewed at the universities. To do so, contact the curator of the university library and/or university museum depot in question.

Examples from this collection The art of knowledge: educational botanical wall charts 1870 - 1960

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