The Digital Ark: Early Modern Collections of Curiosities in England and Scotland, 1580-1700

The Digital Ark is an archive of artefacts and natural specimens as represented by surviving records of early modern collections, museum databases, contemporary drawings and engravings, as well as images of extant remnants of these collections. It its first phase, this database focuses on England and Scotland from 1580-1700, beginning with the collection of Walter Cope and ending with Ralph Thoresby. It includes any collection that aimed at diversity of both natural specimens and artefacts that were valued for being unusual, rare, or exotic. It therefore excludeS collections that were singular in focus (e.g. exclusively numismatic, mineral, or art collections) but includes, for instance, collections that are chiefly naturalia if they contain at least one other class of object (antiquities for example) and an interest in the strange and exotic. While begins with a geographically limited focus, this archive is structured and designed to be extensible and inter-operable with related materials pertaining to other geographical regions and will makes provisions for participation and contribution by the wider community of interested users.

Much of the research and documentation for John Bargrave portion of the Digital Ark was produced as part of a study abroad course in the Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies program at the University of Saskatchewan in cooperation with Cressida Williams of the Canterbury Cathedral Archives. These student researchers are Eleanor Coulter, Guy Hucq, Klaas deJong, Jennifer Pidlisny, Colleen Smith, and Sarah Vela from the class of 2011; Tricia Ashbee, Kristy Bieber, Kyle Dase, Christina Fowlie-Neufeld, Brayden Huczek, James Hawkes, John Lozinsky, Joanna Munholland, Megan Wall from the class of 2014; and Kristen Forest, Jackson Hase, Benjamin Kmiech, Chloe Peters, Lydian Saunder, Marissa Suetta, and Morgan Reschny from the class of 2017.

This is very much a work in progress.