Designing a Logo

March 23rd, 2012

While waiting for a train the other day, I looked up at some of the advertisements lining the walls of the station.  Most of the ads tempted you to some diversion or other – a play, a ride in the London Eye, or a museum exhibit.  The stations between Oxford and London had quite a few museum events touted in posters on the walls and it got me thinking about the importance of branding and graphic design.  Images and their arrangement on posters, web, and publications are an essential element to encouraging the public to come through a museum’s doors.

Our blog is only a few weeks old, and our object list for the exhibit still nascent, but we thought it was important to have graphics associated with our theme.  Hiring a graphic designer was not an option, as our little venture is cash poor.  That being said, it is also resource rich.  We not only have the incredible staff at the museum supporting us, but a network of friends and family to draw upon.  In this vein, our illustrator, Alexis Frederick-Frost, is donating his time to help our project.


The banner at the top of the home page is one of the two options he gave us after receiving the incredibly vague directions: “We need something that says ‘traces’.”  The alternative is pictured above.  We did not choose it only because we thought the Morse code reference may be lost to most people.

I thought I would also include a picture of his notebook, where he brainstormed ideas.



And one of the more whimsical versions of the logo which was later done up in photoshop in Velvet Underground/Andy Warhol style…


Making it all fit

March 21st, 2012


The size and orientation of three cases in the main gallery reserved for our exhibit are a major driving force behind the selection of objects for display.  To make sure we have enough room for our chosen artifacts, a model was made in Google SketchUp.  So far, our choices seem to fit, but this is just budgeting for space.  We need to consider the aesthetic appearance as well as the logistics of placement. For example, we do not want something small and hard to see at the bottom of the case.  Consequently, things still have to be shuffled around.

Currently, we are planning on the right case (as pictured) to contain the objects that leave traces.  The left case will have instruments with traces of use on them.  The middle case contains the objects with no trace, which is why the woman is lost in her thoughts considering them.  What could they be?…  The inventory numbers are included where possible, so check out the museum database and tell us what you think.

Piecing together an exhibit

March 19th, 2012



Three historians, one med student, and a physicist walk into a coffee shop…

It might sound like the beginning of a bad joke but no – it is the beginning of our exhibit planning.  We started meeting regularly in Hilary term and kicked off our brainstorming sessions by concentrating on the theme of traces.  We searched the museum database, consumed caffeine and produced a preliminary list of objects that we wanted to include.


We took our ideas to the MHS and have started the process of selecting objects for the exhibit.  This process, which we hope to share with you, is an interesting one.  One minute you are laughing (see Anna and Phil in the photo with a very patient Assistant Keeper, Stephen, in the foreground) and the next you are arguing, staunchly and unflinchingly advocating for one of the instruments you selected to be included. Negotiations are primarily based on space constraints.  We have three cases for our three themes.   In the coming weeks we hope to use this blog to include some of the objects that either will not fit in the cases or cannot be displayed for some other reason.  Some of the artifacts are just plain quirky, others mysterious, and some too fragile for display. We cannot wait until our objects are dusted off, removed from storage, and are on display to be shared with you.

The Blog goes live!

March 6th, 2012

So today the Traces website was born- we hope that you enjoy it as we document our journey through the curation process. And if you fancy it, please feel free to leave any traces of your own, either by leaving comments or by emailing us at

Welcome to Traces!

March 4th, 2012

Traces is an exhibit taking place at the Musem of the History of Science, Oxford from the 24th April – 24th June 2012.

We hope you enjoy the site!