Collaborations

Chemical Heritage Foundation

Through this foundational partnership, the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has supported a Postdoctoral Scholar on the Making and Knowing Project (M&K) for three consecutive academic years: Joel Klein (2014–2015), Donna Bilak (2015–2016), and Tianna Uchacz (2016–2017). With guidance and oversight from key CHF staff, especially Jody A. Roberts (Director of the Institute for Research), Carin Berkowitz (Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry), and Michelle DiMeo (Director of Digital Library Initiatives), Columbia-CHF Scholars developed projects that bridged their specific expertise with ongoing initiatives at the CHF, transcribing rare book content, creating metadata for newly digitized items from the museum and rare book collections, and leading a reading group and workshop among the community of CHF fellows—”Material Conversations.” Additionally, the partnership yielded the Reconstruction Network, described below. 

Reconstruction Network

Co-organized by M&K and the Chemical Heritage Foundation in 2014-15, the Network brought together a number of researchers engaged in reconstruction at CHF, Columbia, and nearby universities for discussion and a lecture series. In October 2015, M&K and CHF held a Reconstruction Workshop which brought together speakers and panelists in interdisciplinary conversations about the use or role of reconstruction in research. This workshop considered conceptual and methodological issues of historical reconstruction, as well as case studies demonstrating the kinds of knowledge that reconstructions can yield. It examined questions of methodology and evidence in reconstructions, e.g., what protocols and principles ought to guide the design of reconstructions? What is the status, as historical evidence, of the emergent knowledge produced by reconstructions? How should subjective, experiential knowledge be integrated into scholarly writing, and how can we take advantage of new modes of publishing (e.g. digital humanities)?

Reconstruction Network Participants 

NameDepartmentInstitution
Pamela Smith
History, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Naomi RosenkranzCenter for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Jenny BoulboulleHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Donna BilakHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Joel KleinHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Joel T. FryCurationBartram's Garden
Vanessa SellersHumanities InstituteNew York Botanical Garden
Jennifer RamplingHistoryPrinceton University
Sven DupréHistory and Art HistoryUtrecht University
Andy RoddickDepartment of AnthropologyMcMaster University
Brian BoydDepartment of AnthropologyColumbia University
Lawrence M. PrincipeChemistry, History of Science and TechnologyJohns Hopkins University
Steven TurnerDivision of Medicine and Science, CurationSmithsonian National Museum of American History
Marjolijn BolDepartment of Conservation and RestorationUniversity of Amsterdam
Michele MarincolaConservationNew York University
Elisabeth Berry DragoPublic History, Art HistoryChemical Heritage Foundation
Elaine LeongMPG Minerva Research Group: Reading and Writing Nature in Early Modern EuropeMax Planck Institute for the History of Science
Michelle DiMeoDigital CollectionsChemical Heritage Foundation
Giuseppe GerbinoMusicColumbia University
Loren Ludwig--Independent Scholar
Robin Bier--Les Canards Chantants
Graham BierMusicBryn Athyn College
Ken AlbalaHistory, Food StudiesUniversity of the Pacific
Sarah KernanHistoryOhio State University
William R. NewmanHistory and Philosophy of Science and MedicineIndiana University

Rhode Island School of Design

This collaboration between M&K and the Glass Department of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) brought together the M&K team and students with the RISD Glass professors and students as well as consultants from the Corning Museum of Glass and the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, the Universiteit Utrecht ARTECHNE group, independent glassblowers and artists, and the Brown University Geochemistry Department. Over the course of three days, the group focused on testing variations of the “ruby gems” recipes found in Ms. Fr. 640, part of a larger collection of recipes in the manuscript for creating various colored gems by making colored glass. The ruby recipe describes building a furnace that can be heated to a high temperature and combining calcined pebbles (quartz), gold, and minium (lead tetroxide) in a crucible to be heated for an entire day. While the author-practitioner notes his failed attempts at creating a beautiful red glass, he offers some suggestions for possible revisions to his process that could be more successful. The workshop attempted a number of these variations and tried to draw connections to other early modern efforts at producing the historically elusive “gold ruby glass,” which relies on a difficult technique known in antiquity but subsequently lost and recovered only sporadically until the late seventeenth century when it was codified in print. In consultation with materials scientists, physicists, and geochemists as well as practicing glass artists and industrial glass makers, the workshop also sought to understand the material basis for creating red leaded glass using gold.

View our Flickr album
Read a RISD article about our collaboration

RISD Participants

NameTitle, Affiliation/InstitutionBackground, Department
Pamela SmithDirector, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia UniversityHistory, History of Science
Naomi RosenkranzProject Manager, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia UniversityPhysics, Center for Science and Society
Tianna UchaczPostdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University & Chemical Heritage FoundationArt History, History
Joel KleinPostdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University & Chemical Heritage FoundationHistory of Science and Medicine
Donna BilakPostdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University & Chemical Heritage FoundationJewelry Design and History, History of Science
Ana-Matisse Donefer-HickieM&K Student, Bard Graduate CenterMaterial Culture, historical glass techniques, glassblowing
Reid CooperProfessor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown UniversityExperimental geophysics, experimental petrology, dynamics of silicate melts and glass
Glen CookChief Scientist, Corning Museum of GlassMaterials Science and Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, Research and Development for Corning Inc.
Dedo Von Kerssenbrock-KrosigkCurator and Historian, Museum KunstpalastHistory, glass history, history of alchemy
Rachel BerwickProfessor and Department Head, Glass Department, Rhode Island School of DesignGlassblowing, glass art
Jocelyne PrinceAssociate Professor, Glass Department, Rhode Island School of DesignGlassblowing, glass art
Hunter BlackwellDepartment Technician, Glass Department, Rhode Island School of DesignGlassblowing, glass art, furnace and equipment construction
Anna RileyArtist (graduate of RISD Glass Department)Glassblowing, glass art

RISD Glass Department Students

Raghvi Bhatia
Camille Cady­Mccrea
Kelly Eriksen
Yiyi Wei
Yufei Liu
Jorge Placios
Wen Zhuang
Ximo (Momo) Xiao
Yidan Zeng
Felicia LeRoy
Evan Voelbel
Maia Chao
Ipek Kosova
Songlin Li
Michael White
Cindy Del Rio
Riley Embler
Jane Robertson
Anya Petit

Victoria & Albert/Royal College of Art, History of Design

From Spring 2015, Making and Knowing has collaborated with Dr. Marta Ajmar and the V&A/RCA History of Design postgraduate programme to integrate research on Ms. Fr. 640 into the course content of the MA and PhD program. The M&K’s lab seminar students and History of Design students have occasional group skype meetings to review their respective research and reconstructions. In 2015, Alessandra Chessa contributed an annotation on “Coral Contrefait” (fol. 3r) for the critical edition. In 2016-17, in their course module on “Thinking and Experiencing Techne,” History of Design students and instructor Dr. Simona Valeriani worked with V&A furniture conservators on two varnish recipes, following entries in Ms. Fr. 640 for varnishes (fol. 101v:  “The Germans boil the minium in linseed oil, and to give it the consistency of varnish, they mix in heavily pulverized amber and spike lavender oil,” and 73v: “Take two ounces of aspic oil and one ounce of sandarac. Take a clean pot and warm it and then take it out of the fire, and after, put the drugs inside, then put them into a vial and apply it on the wood.”) In 2017, the History of Design programme also worked with Hamilton Kerr conservator, Dr. Spike Bucklow, on the grinding of azurite to make a deep blue pigment. See the results of these exciting collaborations in the Programme’s “Thinking and Experiencing Techne” blogs and videos

University of Amsterdam

In 2014-15, M&K partnered with instructors of the MA in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, Tonny Beentjes, Ellen van Bork, and Tamar Davidowitz to author annotations on Moldmaking and Metalworking for the critical edition. UvA students Michaela Groeneveld, Ingeborg Kroon, Elisabeth Kuiper, and Marianne Nuji worked intensively in the Rijksmuseum teaching labs during the spring semester to produce an annotation on a casting technique now called “incuse reverse casting” and one on the mysterious moldmaking material that Ms. Fr. 640 author-practitioner called “spat.” These students built upon the experiences of M&K lab seminar students of the previous semester Rozemarijn Landsman and Jonah Rowen who had authored an annotation on incuse reverse casting (fol. 92r). The UvA students achieved a successful cast using one of the most interesting techniques mentioned in this entry. In addition, in Spring 2015, Dr. Marjolijn Bol included a unit in her Technical Art History course at the UvA during which students reconstructed Ms. Fr. 640 entries, including “Impromptu masque,” “oil on taffeta,” dragonsblood “enamel,” and other processes. M&K Director Pamela Smith attended their all-day capstone review of their reconstruction experiments at the Rijksmuseum’s Ateliergebouw in May 2015. In the following year, Dr. Bol taught the course again as part of UvA’s newly established Technical Art History program, and in very brief units (only a few weeks), the many students produced admirable short annotations on a wide variety of colormaking entries. 

University of Glasgow

In spring 2016, the University of Glasgow’s School of Culture and Creative Arts instructors Erma Hermens and Martin Richter and students in the postgraduate program in Technical Art History conducted a one-day transatlantic cochineal lake pigment making experiment with students in the Making and Knowing lab seminar. Great fun was had as students held their computer cameras up to their red lake pigments and compared colors in real time between Glasgow and New York City. Since then, the Making and Knowing Project has incorporated red lake pigment making into its skillbuilding exercises every year. 

Frick Collection

This ongoing partnership between M&K and the Frick Collection in New York City is a knowledge exchange initiative sparked by the Lab Seminar’s investigations of historical materials and techniques. Moreover, M&K’s material reconstructions of 16th-century medal casting techniques coincided with the Frick’s recent acquisition of a large collection of portrait medals showcased May–September 2017 in the exhibition, The Pursuit of Immortality: Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals. This shared interest has resulted in investigatory viewing sessions at the Frick to look for evidence of casting methods described in detail in Ms. Fr. 640, as well as the creation of a video (directed by former M&K student Diana Mellon) detailing the process of portrait medal casting featured in the Frick’s exhibition.

Explore the Frick’s website
Learn more about the exhibit
Read about the new acquisition 
Watch the video

Frick Collection Participants

NameDepartmentCurrent Institution
Pamela SmithHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Naomi RosenkranzProject Manager, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia UniversityPhysics, Center for Science and Society
Tianna UchaczPostdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University & Chemical Heritage FoundationArt History, History
Joel KleinPostdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University & Chemical Heritage FoundationHistory of Science and Medicine
Donna BilakPostdoctoral Scholar, Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University & Chemical Heritage FoundationJewelry Design and History, History of Science
Charles KangM&K student, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia UniversityArt History
Diana MellonM&K student, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia UniversityArt History
Sofia GansM&K student, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia UniversityArt History
Jonah RowenM&K student, Graduate School of Architecture, Columbia UniversityArchitecture, History of art and architecture
Rozemarijn LandsmanM&K student, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia UniversityArt History
Aimee NgAssociate Curator, The Frick CollectionItalian Renaissance Art, curation
 

PRISMS High School


Princeton International School for Mathematics and Science
(PRISMS) and M&K have begun working together to develop PRISMS high school student Olina Liang’s 2-year Research and Innovation Project on metalworking and casting techniques. Olina has used the insights from M&K’s annotations on moldmaking and metalworking as well as the Project’s translations of Ms. Fr. 640 to inform her own investigation into artisanal making techniques, molding sands and binders, and technical analysis of her casts using scanning electron microscope (SEM) technology. M&K looks forward to her continued experiments and scientific analyses.

PRISMS Participants

NameDepartmentCurrent Institution
Pamela SmithHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Naomi RosenkranzCenter for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Donna BilakHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Olina LianHigh School StudentPRISMS
Roxanne SpencerChemistryPRISMS
Reuben LoewyHumanities and JournalismPRISMS
Laurie HochstetlerU.S. History and Modern World HistoryPRISMS
 

CGUI

The collaboration between M&K and the Columbia University Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab (CGUI), led by Professor Steven Feiner, is developing an augmented reality (AR) toolset to complement M&K’s Digital Critical Edition of BnF Ms. Fr. 640. These interactive tools will help communicate the practice-based experiential knowledge generated in the Making and Knowing Lab, allowing readers to experience the M&K lab space and the process of reconstructing historical techniques through cutting-edge visualization technologies, including Microsoft HoloLens and Google Tango devices. This research is supported by a grant from Columbia’s Collaboratory Fellows Fund and has resulted in a suite of collaborative teaching initiatives: a new course, GR8975 “What is a Book in the 21st Century? Working with Historical Texts in a Digital Environment” (Spring 2017); a reorientation of COMS W4172 “3D User Interfaces and Augmented Reality” (Spring 2018); and a second new course, GR**** “Transforming Texts: Computational Approaches to Text Analysis and Visualization” (Spring 2019).

CGUI Participants

NameDepartmentCurrent Institution
Pamela SmithHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Naomi RosenkranzCenter for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Tianna UchaczHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Donna BilakHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Joel KleinHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Steven K. FeinerComputer ScienceColumbia University
Mengu SukanComputer ScienceColumbia University
Carmine ElvezioComputer ScienceColumbia University
Xin (Amy) XuComputer ScienceColumbia University
Noah ZwebenComputer ScienceColumbia University

Center for Teaching and Learning

The Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia has supported the Making and Knowing Project’s Laboratory Seminar since 2014, providing expert consultation and assistance in the course’s unconventional teaching program. Crucially, the CTL has managed and guided the students’ (and Project’s) use of media, experimentation with emerging technologies, and digital laboratory field notes.

Through the Columbia Provost’s Hybrid Learning Course Redesign and Delivery program, M&K was extremely fortunate to work with the Center for Teaching and Learning in designing and implementing a new course in the Digital Humanities, HIST GR8975: What is a Book in the 21st century? offered in Spring 2017. For this Digital Seminar, M&K and CTL developed a rubric for digital literacy specific to this course, one which articulates baseline standards and professional competencies in digital scholarship required of graduate students entering the job market and develop a model of how digital literacy might be taught and demonstrated at Columbia. As a result, this collaboration has not only resulted in the development of a competency roadmap specific to the Digital Seminar, but also has contributed to the creation of a recently announced resource, CTL’s Digital Literacy Competency Calculator by which students and instructors can conceive and customize the learning experience. 

xp Methods

Among the Project’s earliest collaborators was Columbia’s Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities (or xpMethod), whose self-styled mission to rapidly prototype speculative ideas brought about the first functional mock-ups of M&K’s Project data (explore these protoypes on the Digital page of this website). xpMethod has served as an incubator for innovative approaches to analysis and visualization in the humanities, and M&K looks forward to our upcoming collaboration with xpMethod co-founder Dennis Tenen through the Collaboratory Fellows Fund: a planned new graduate course in the Digital Humanities, GR**** “Transforming Texts: Computational Approaches to Text Analysis and Visualization” (Spring 2019). 

CRASSH Projects

M&K collaborates with two projects at Cambridge University’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH): Genius Before Romanticism: Ingenuity in Early Modern Art and Science (PI: Alexander Marr); and Making Visible: The visual and graphic practices of the early Royal Society (PI: Sachiko Kusukawa). Both CRASSH projects visited M&K and the Center for Science and Society in September 2017 for a joint symposium and a lab visit, where they joined M&K students in the exercise of breadmolding. In turn, M&K visited Cambridge in June 2017, taking part in a workshop investigating the making of azurite pigment at the Fitzwilliam Museum led by Spike Bucklow as part of Genius Before Romanticism’s “Ingenuity in the Making” theme, followed by a seminar at CRASSH on the theme of ingenious objects, processes, and materials. M&K staff were then fortunate to visit a Making Visible team session at the Royal Society to view a selection of fascinating technical and artisanal documents.

CRASSH Participants

NameDepartmentCurrent Institution
Pamela SmithHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Naomi RosenkranzCenter for Science and SocietyColumbia University
Tianna UchaczHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Donna BilakHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Joel KleinHistory, Center for Science and SocietyColumbia University, Chemical Heritage Foundation
Alexander MarrHistory of Art, PI: Genius Before RomanticismCambridge University
Raphaële GarrodPostdoctoral Researcher, Genius Before RomanticismCambridge University
José Ramón MarcaidaPostdoctoral Researcher, Genius Before RomanticismCambridge University
Richard OosterhoffPostdoctoral Researcher, Genius Before RomanticismCambridge University
Sachiko KusukawaHistory and Philosophy of Science, PI: Making Visible Cambridge University
Sietske FransenPostdoctoral Researcher, Making VisibleCambridge University
Katherine ReinhartPostdoctoral Researcher, Making VisibleCambridge University
 

Universite Toulouse-Jean Jaures

Since 2015, the Making and Knowing Project has had an ongoing collaboration with the Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, where Professor Pascal Julien of the Department of Art and Archeology has conducted and supervised research on the context, contents, and genesis of Ms. Fr. 640. Pascal has identified local sites around Toulouse mentioned in the manuscript, sourced local materials for the lab, and supervised the work of Sarah Munoz and Colin Debuiche, who performed archival research for the Project over the 2015–2016 academic year. Colin will continue this work in 2017 as the M&K Gerda Henkel Postdoctoral Scholar. Additionally, M&K’s 2017 Text Workshop was graciously hosted by the Université Toulouse under the coordination of Pascal Julien’s team and with generous support from the Department of Art and Archaeology. M&K is particularly grateful to Colin and Sarah for leading visits to nearby sites and institutions, including hands-on sessions at the Municipal Archives and personalized tours through the Musée des Augustins and the Cathedrals of Albi, Rodez, and Auch. 

Musee des Augustins, Toulouse

Beginning in March 2018, the Musee des Augustins will host an exhibition on Toulouse in the Renaissance. The exhibition will feature BnF Ms. Fr. 640—the current research object of the Making and Knowing Project—which was compiled in the Toulousain milieu around the turn of the seventeenth century. M&K’s life casts of plants and insects, produced according to the recipes in Ms. Fr. 640, will be exhibited alongside the manuscript, and the M&K team will participate in the exhibition symposium, which will bring together curators and scholars of the French Renaissance.