The Black Belt Museum continues to develop professional-level research collections in geology and paleontology, historical objects and archives, arts and crafts, botany and zoology, and archaeology. The cultural and geographic Black Belt region is the primary, although not the sole, focus of these collections.

Art, Artifacts and Specimens from the Collectors Cabinet

Originally, collectors cabinets were rooms full of various works of art, natural history objects, and antiquities first organized during the Italian Renaissance. Ole Worm, a Danish physician and professor at the University of Copenhagen, assembled the one shown here during the early 1600s. Some cabinets demonstrated the power and wealth of the owner, challenging the viewer to think about the connections among what might today seem to be randomly-arranged objects. Cabinets became a popular way to display objects from travels or items of personal interest. Collectors evolved into curators, classifying and interpreting the wide-ranging collections. In the same fashion, the series of cabinets or rooms of objects were the genesis of today’s museums. This exhibition reflects the legacy of collectors, donors, and curators who had an affinity for or relationship with the University of Delaware.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Hercule Poirot, the fictional detective famous for his fastidiously groomed mustache and the “little grey cells” of his superior mind, is one of the most beloved characters of English author Agatha Christie (1890-1976). Beginning with the 1920 publication of her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and ending with Curtain (1975), Poirot appeared in nearly ninety of Christie’s novels, plays, and short stories.


Friends & Enemies

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), the expatriate American artist, had a formidable presence. He was known for his consummate skill as a painter and printmaker, for his radical art theories, for his wit—and for his combative persona that repeatedly led his friendships to devolve into feuds. Whistler’s forceful personality was at odds with the delicacy of his art. His iconic signature of a graceful butterfly with a barbed stinger embodies this contradiction.


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