As an exhibition, God Save the King celebrates the opening of a new scholarly collection, the Hanover Royal Music Archive, acquired by Yale’s Beinecke Library in 2008, catalogued by co-curator Karen Spicher, and made available for research at the library. The exhibition highlights two of the many perspectives rewarded by the archive: not only its possibilities as a musicological collection, documenting the creation and performance of court and popular music in the particular historical context of the Hanoverian court, but also its importance as a social historical collection, offering a glimpse into the social and economic markets, the public and private musical cultures of a household and court. The exhibition blog, a companion to the physical exhibit itself, points to some of the items and facets which we were not able to include in the exhibition—the tremendous scope for scholarship, as it will develop over the next decades from researchers’ engagement with the archive. After the exhibition closing this month, we will create a web exhibit, offering an online version of the always ephemeral encounter with a collection offered by a physical exhibit.
The exhibit offers one discussion of the Hanover Royal Music Archive, only one of the many which will be undertaken in scholarship, teaching, performance over the next decades of the collection’s history. The exhibit also marked another moment in the Beinecke’s history, when it was partially de-installed for an exhibition commemorating the Beinecke’s director, Frank Turner, who died unexpectedly this November. The Hanover Royal Music Library was only one of many acquisitions made under Frank’s leadership as director, and an example of his commitment to building the Library’s collections and opening them to scholarship, through cataloguing, digitization, the Beinecke’s fellowship program, and the Library’s reading room.
These two exhibitions can be viewed together through December 11. Seen together, the exhibits show the Hanover Royal Music Archive in another aspect, as a collection among collections, an example among others of the extraordinary scope of the Beinecke collections for humanistic scholarship, under Frank Turner’s leadership and in the years to come.
–Kathryn James, exhibition co-curator, and Curator of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Beinecke (firstname.lastname@example.org)