New Exhibition: Unearthing

Unearthing, an exhibition by artist member Betsy Stirratt, is currently on view at the Tube Factory Art Space in Indianapolis. The exhibition will run through March 19, 2023.

In Unearthing, I explore how natural and cultural objects are presented in collections and museum settings, and how we preserve, classify, and display them. I have visited many natural history, herbaria and medical museums in Europe and the US with the aim of understanding their objectives, collecting impulses, and labelling practices. With similar intent, I visited several regional historical sites and collections, including the Workingmen’s Institute in New Harmony, the Indiana University Paleontology Collection, and Angel Mounds. The resulting photographs and objects demonstrate the sometimes-underestimated importance of local and regional history within the broader museum world.

Additionally, alongside the pieces inspired by museum collections and artifacts in this installation, I am including materials I have collected (e.g., a 19th c. herbarium, Victorian bird taxidermy, amateur butterfly collections) relating to my interest in history, natural history and the ways objects are preserved and presented within a curated setting. These items were gathered because in most cases they were made by an amateur who had some specific interest in the subject that he/she was preserving.

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