The second major exhibition celebrating the University Library’s 600th anniversary opens to the public today. Curious Objects presents “a cabinet of curiosities that opens a window onto the nature of collecting, private and institutional”. The most modern collection featured is that of Russian and Soviet items left to us by Dr Catherine Cooke, with one of the larger cases in the exhibitions given over to an eye-catching selection of material from the extraordinary collection.
One of the items used in the exhibition, a St Petersburg postcard, has already been described in detail in an earlier blog post. This is displayed next to the wall text introducing the Cooke case, alongside a reproduction of a box of Sputnik cigarettes from the collection. The case itself contains a total of 45 late imperial and Soviet items. Among these are 19 postcards (including a pop-up postcard of St Basil’s Cathedral), 5 bookmarks, 4 badges, 2 packets of tea, and 1 paper bag. Together, the exhibits give some idea of the rich variety of the Cooke collection. Dr Cooke built up a wonderful research library of books and journals on Soviet architecture and design and also collected postcards, posters, and mixed ephemera.
The exhibition will run until 21 March 2017. Online images of the Cooke exhibition material, accompanied by extended captions, are available here: https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/curiousobjects/case/cooke/