Special Collections and Wikimedia programs
At Maastricht University, we encourage the integration of research and education by having students participate in research-based learning programs. We give them the unique opportunity to gain experience in setting up and conducting empirical research in the Bachelor programme by participating in the Wikipedia Education Program. In this program students write a Wikipedia article which encourages students to practice writing from a neutral point of view, referencing and citing (primary) sources.
Since 2014, students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have been going “on Expedition”. They indulge in historical travel books from the Jesuit collection and write their Bachelor thesis on them. They work with primary sources that tell about trade missions and scientific expeditions and they think about identity and concepts such as “othering”. To disseminate the research results to a wider audience, they write entries for Wikipedia. Watch Johanna’s On Expedition vlog for the experience from a student’s perspective.
Opening up old books
“Opening up old books” is a research project within the Maastricht Science Programme of the Faculty of Science and Engineering in which students study historical plant books from our Special Collections. During this four-week programme we ask students to analyse botanical-historical books in the context of contemporary science. The aim of this project is to conduct a comparative analysis between the contents of an interesting, important and / or peculiar book from plant biology and current knowledge on that subject. Students also write a review of the book and publish it on Wikipedia.
Historical Book Review
In the Historical Book Review elective of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, students write Wikipedia entries on original, strange or unusual psychology (related) books from our collections.
All programmes consist of lectures, collection tours, presentations, group discussions, (wiki)workshops and feedback sessions. In these collaborations between the faculty (teachers, researchers), the University Library (curators, information specialists) and Wikimedia (volunteers), students are trained in academic skills (e.g. searching databases and researching historical sources), learn to write Wikipedia articles and practise writing from a neutral standpoint, referencing and citing (primary) sources. Working with primary sources, an increased readership and feeling a certain responsibility for ‘their’ entry, inspire student motivation. Images scanned by the library are accessible and used worldwide via Wikimedia Commons.
Find out how students experience working with primary sources
Two Girls in China
Within the programme of the 2016 lustrum year, Maastricht University organised a trip for two students through China for three weeks, the Two Girls in China project. These two students documented their trip with a blog and vlog, comparing their experiences with the travel logs of 17th century Jesuits in China.
HistoBistro is a collaboration of Maastricht University Library, Centre Céramique, the Regional Historic Center Limburg, the Royal Limburg Historical and Archaeological Society (LGOG) and the Limburg Museum, which revolves around historical recipes, the historical kitchen, gastronomy, agriculture and decorum. Activities include lectures, workshops, exhibitions, historical food tasting, and podcasts. HistoBistro is part of the Limburg Collection, a cooperation of cultural heritage organizations in Limburg that wants to preserve this collection for the future, make it (digitally) accessible, and make it more visible, sustainable and usable for a broad audience as well as for scientific purposes. Follow the HistoBistro Facebook page for updates.
Listen to the HistoBistro podcast.
Spoken Word is a yearly event organised by Maastricht University Library at the Dominicanen Bookstore during Museumnacht Maastricht (Museum night Maastricht) in April. In collaboration with Dominicanen Bookstore and Fashionclash, aspiring writers, poets and singer-songwriters showcase their talents with performances revolving around a different theme each year, such as Ancient Greece, lucky/unlucky or Lost in space. Books from our Special Collections serve as an inspiration. Spoken Word is part of Museumnacht Maastricht, a presentation of exciting venues around Maastricht with diverse cultural activities Maastricht has to offer.
2021| Day Zero / Ground Zero Cape Town A Decolonial Walk along the Liesbeek River (online exhibition)
This online exhibition tells a story about a river in Cape Town, South Africa, about its colonial past and its Anthropocene future. It centers on the water course of the Liesbeek River, because this river’s heritage encapsulates—in the words of the Goringhaicona Khoi KhoiIndigenous Traditional Council High Commissioner Tauriq Jenkins—Cape Town’s ‘Ground Zero’, the place where colonial dispossession began.
The exhibition covers a 9 km–long walking investigation into the intimate link between imperial conquests and the Anthropocene exploitation of beings, species, and territories in former colonies such as South Africa. As a kind of walking companion, or a historical interlocuter, we walk the river with Peter Kolb (1675–1726), the first known scientific explorer of the Cape of Good Hope. During the first decennia of the 17th century, Kolb mapped and described the Cape landscape, its rivers, and its people. The University Library Special Collections Department holds a beautiful copy of Kolb’s work.
2020| The Jesuits between East and West (online exhibition)
Cultural anxieties and suspicions are likely to prevent the development of more realistic images of each other. Therefore, it’s instructive to look more closely at a relevant episode from the past: the adventures of the Jesuits in China. These missionaries managed to establish a real dialogue on religion, philosophy and science with the oft well-educated upper echelons of Chinese society. This online exhibition centres on the often lavishly illustrated books about China from Maastricht University’s Jesuit Collection. Driven by missionary zeal, many Jesuits embarked on a risky journey to the East – and quite a few of them did not survive the hazardous ocean journey. This is the first online exhibition of Maastricht University. Visit the English version.
2020| On Expedition - Maastricht Antiquarian Book and Print Fair
During the fair, a small exhibition on the theme of Travel and Discoveries was provided by the Art and Heritage Committee and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University. In the MABP Magazine you can read articles about travel books from the Jesuit collection of the Maastricht University Library.
2019| The ideal woman
This exhibition on masculinity and femininity, marital need and marital happiness includes erotic advice from the Jesuit collection of Theodoor van de Velde at the beginning of the 20th century. The gynecologist Van de Velde (1873-1937) was taboo-breaking in his time. He dared to write on female sexuality. In The Ideal Woman (1933), he explicitly focused on ‘the woman’. This book – with no fewer than 480 film images and 54 full-page illustrations – was a kind of guide full of gymnastic exercises to improve sex efficiency. The aim was to “fully develop the sexual abilities of women”, so that women as self-aware individuals could enjoy sex much more actively (and please her husband). Visit the exhibition.
2019| Erotica - Maastricht Antiquarian Book and Print Fair
In collaboration with the Regional Historic Center Limburg, Center Céramique and the University Library an exhibition was organized in the Sint Jans Church. Three students did an internship: Yasmin Geradts, Maxime Hallatu and Nabilah Noordin explored special collections in these institutions. Yasmin Geradts researched the, nowadays, not well known books on sexual education from the Beyart Brothers. Maxime Hallatu focused on Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde (1873-1937), a gynecologist, who made history with his popular and often piquant sexual advise for married couples. Nabila Noordin researched Japanese, erotic woodblock prints or Ukiyo-e between the 17th and 20th century from Center Céramique. On these prints, beautiful women expose body parts, in such a ‘risky’ manner that would be considered taboo in the West. After completing their internships, the students received a certificate undersigned by all involved parties. Visit the exhibition.
2018| Marvels from the Jesuits Collection: travel guides, tourism and heritage
As a phenomenon, the travel guide is closely connected with the emergence of modern tourism in Europe from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, when an extensive railway network came into being. Tourists were looking for pleasure and relaxation. But they also wanted to widen their cultural horizon and improve their physical health. This exhibition shows how the travel guide, as a steady companion, detailed for the tourist what was worth a visit: which cities, which buildings, which resorts, which mountain areas, which panoramas and so on.
to get hands on with the collections yourself?