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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!”