“It is great for us and other museums to be able to still share our collections with the public when our doors are closed – we just hope we haven’t given anyone any nightmares!”
At a time when most of the world have found themselves stuck at home and self-isolating as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, boredom is setting in. A museum in the UK has now come up with an idea that will entertain people while they are on lockdown. The Museum’s curators have been trying with a number of challenges, such as #dullestobject, #prettiestobject, #deadliestobject, and for Easter Weekend, #bestegg. They eventually went viral online when the competition was held to find the “world’s creepiest exhibit.”
When they announced the #curatorbattle challenge, it went viral. In order to take part in the challenge, you needed to find the creepiest object in your museum and display it for the world to see on twitter. Yorkshire Museum sent out the tweet on Friday, saying, “It’s time for #CURATORBATTLE! Today’s theme, chosen by you, is #CreepiestObject!”
MUSEUMS ASSEMBLE! It's time for #CURATORBATTLE! 💥
Today's theme, chosen by you, is #CreepiestObject!
We're kicking things off with this 3rd/4th century hair bun from the burial of a #Roman lady, still with the jet pins in place…
CAN YOU BEAT IT? 💥 pic.twitter.com/ntPiXDuM6v
— Yorkshire Museum (@YorkshireMuseum) April 17, 2020
The challenge was opened by the Yorkshire Museum when they posted a picture of a dead Roman woman’s hair bun, dating back to the third or fourth century. A close examination even shows that the pins are still in place. Museums began to respond to the challenge by posting pictures of some very strange objects.
Our #CreepiestObject has to be this ‘mermaid’… 😱💀🧜♀️ #CURATORBATTLE #TroublingTaxidermy pic.twitter.com/GMSosyuqIX
— Natural Sciences NMS (@NatSciNMS) April 17, 2020
One answer to the challenge came from London’s Science Museum when they posted a picture of a Javanese ritual figure of a dried merman. The skeletal body looks like a combination of a fish and a bird. Two figurines were also shown by the York Castle Museum.
They are playing cards and it doesn’t look creepy at first until you realize they are made from crab claws. York Art Gallery then posted a picture of a sculpture of some type of mysterious beast by Kerry Jameson. It is creepy because it is an actual severed leg.
We've got A LOT of creepy object contenders for today's #CURATORBATTLE but after some debate (Creepy dolls/ hair dug up from a grave/ a little man in a glass jar….!) we're going with some pretty grim TV props from Casualty! https://t.co/7j3q2ipW7d #CreepiestObject pic.twitter.com/NR1aHOY9gS
— Blaise Museum (@BlaiseMuseum) April 17, 2020
The National Museum of Scotland showed a picture of a mermaid with rotting teeth. The tweet received a reply from the Yorkshire Museum, saying, “okay I’m not sleeping tonight.”
The challenge continued with Fairfax House posting a picture of a snuff box made of silver. It was said to have contained the pubic hair of one of George IV’s mistresses. In Canada, The Prince Edward Island Museum showed a 150-year-old hobbyhorse, writing: “We call it ‘Wheelie’ — and it MOVES ON ITS OWN.” When Norwich Castle sold the picture, they said, “how can we ignore such a call to arms?” They then posted a picture of a Peapod-shaped pincushion with fake children’s heads.
Just had a thought. Not our object but we did once borrow a silver snuffbox from @MuseumsUniStA that is said to contain the pubic hair of one of George IV's mistresses.
Yes that's right a pubic hair snuffbox.#CURATORBATTLE #creepiestobject pic.twitter.com/ePGY8eJ22R
— Fairfax House (@fairfax_house) April 17, 2020
A picture of an early 20th century sheep’s heart was posted by archaeology professor from the University of Oxford. It was impaled with nails and was said to “break evil spells.” The picture was captioned: “Sheep’s heart stuck with pins and nails and strung on a loop of cord. Made in South Devon, circa 1911, “for breaking evil spells.”
Sheep's heart stuck with pins and nails and strung on a loop of cord. Made in South Devon, circa 1911, "for breaking evil spells", @Pitt_Rivers collections #CreepiestObject #CuratorBattle pic.twitter.com/z5vdCFCU4S
— Dan Hicks (@profdanhicks) April 17, 2020
Nice. We have a pigeon heart stuck with pins for punishing a witch…#CreepiestObject #CuratorBattle pic.twitter.com/CUOdNlB3eN
— SMT Collections Team (@SMT_Collections) April 17, 2020
Yorkpress reports that the digital engagement officer for the York Museums Trust, Millicent Carroll, said, “The curator battle has been gradually building as more and more museums and the general public look at our Twitter feed every Friday to see what theme we’re going to pitch. The “Best Egg” had replies from the Hermitage in Russia and the American Museum of National History. But the creepiest object has taken it to another level! It is great for us and other museums to be able to still share our collections with the public when our doors are closed – we just hope we haven’t given anyone any nightmares!”
@RedHeadedAli how can we ignore such a call to arms?
This particular item has caused a few nightmares for our followers this week.
Our #CreepiestObject is…this pincushion! Complete with tiny children's heads. You're welcome, Twitter.#CURATORBATTLE pic.twitter.com/0YdmCE5dYD
— Norwich Castle (@NorwichCastle) April 17, 2020
How about this Japanese ukiyo-e(woodblock prints) from @ukiyoeota Collections? This black creepy monster is biting off woman's HAIR! #CURATORBATTLE #CreepiestObject pic.twitter.com/nkbdodCKqj
— 太田記念美術館 Ota Memorial Museum of Art (@ukiyoeota) April 21, 2020
Our #CURATORBATTLE entry from @NAM_London – frost bitten fingertips anyone? https://t.co/PGD61mG5rz pic.twitter.com/KcWgnGwEdP
— Kirsty Parsons (@museum_owl) April 17, 2020
@britishmuseum…. Will a mummified mermaid do?? https://t.co/pO7m0lPPQp pic.twitter.com/7sQ3lRbTKu
— Jim P. (@SeptimusKeen) April 17, 2020
STEP ASIDE ALL.
These are hand-made models of figures playing cards and of gold miners hauling gold nuggets to the surface. BUT the figures are made from crab’s legs and claws… Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff. #CreepiestObject pic.twitter.com/A5NHiPGnVh
— York Castle Museum (@YorkCastle) April 17, 2020
#CURATORBATTLE #CreepiestObject I'm not a museum, my parents just have this mummified baby aligator head IN THEIR HOUSE!
Though tbf they once tried to sell it at a car boot when I was a kid. I bought it back cos I thought it was cool. pic.twitter.com/qSL96rQgS3
— Rosie Brigham (@rosie934) April 17, 2020
Does "something in a jar" strike your fancy? #CreepiestObject pic.twitter.com/grVWP5hRLw
— Nova Scotia Museum (@NS_Museum) April 17, 2020
The whole of the Booth Museum in Brighton. Here's their merman pic.twitter.com/rmcNmmSGLb
— Prof Fiona Candlin (@FionaCandlin) April 17, 2020