December 2017

Curating Coconuts

Monty Python and the Holy Grail begins by insisting on the impossibility of coconuts in medieval England, and we all love the scene. But this comic insistence that coconut cups could never have existed in medieval English and European homes extends to their curation in museums today, and museums are one of the only ways most people will ever engage medieval scholarship. Museums struggle to categorize coconut cups, and the almost total absence of scholarly research on medieval trade goods like coconuts adds to the challenge facing museums. In these conditions, museums make do with traditional truisms that are really...

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