The Press Office asked College Collections to tell us about their work this half. Here is a whistle-stop tour.

The Collections Museum Learning Programme has delivered 37 primary school visits, both on site and online, reaching over 1200 students since the new year.

Exhibitions & Access Coordinator Lucy Cordingley delivered assemblies to pupils in Years 12 and 13 entitled ‘Putting on a Show. She focussed on the recent Ancient Beings exhibition, highlighting the benefits of the long-term loan of items from Eton’s antiquities collection to Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and Birmingham University, as well explaining what goes in to preparing a temporary exhibition at Eton.

In the two weeks before Long Leave, College Library hosted 18 groups of Year 9 and 10 pupils for a display devised in collaboration with Dr Anna Camilleri, Eton’s Head of the English, on ‘How to Judge a Book by its Cover’. The display included the largest and smallest books in the library; the first book produced in Antarctica; and a souvenir book bound in wood salvaged from one of the worst shipwrecks in British history. The display was enthusiastically received by pupils and staff alike, and we are looking forward to another new display for English specialists after Long Leave, which will draw on the library’s holdings relating to Milton and the English Civil War.

College Library recently contributed 20,312 records to The Heritage of the Printed Book Database. This database contains millions of catalogue records from European and North American research libraries covering items of European printing of the hand-press period (c.1455-c.1830).

George Fussey, biology Master and Director of Career Education at Eton, recently gave a talk to 30 members of the Eton Wick History Group about the forthcoming Joseph Banks exhibition.

What a wealth of information you dispensed during that hour: we all now know so much about Joseph Banks, Paul Sandby, Captain Cook and his ‘Endeavour’ and their combined exploits; and what a tremendous contribution Old Etonians made in their intrepid explorations and resulting specimen collections.

Attendee, Joseph Banks Exhibition Talk

Two Year 12 history of art classes visited the Print Room in early February for a teaching session on 19th century landscape painting. Both classes were fascinated by the Turner watercolours and enjoyed discussing features of picturesque, pastoral and sublime landscapes.

Professor John Watts from Corpus Christi College, Oxford delivered a talk entitled ‘Henry VI: Astonishing Inertness?’ at a History Society meeting in February to coincide with the exhibition Henry VI in the Verey Gallery at Eton. The evening ended with an acapella performance of a Latin prayer written by King Henry VI.

Meanwhile, two external conservators spent a week systematically checking the books in one area of College Library, making meticulous repairs where needed.