San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
In Victorian Britain, thousands of people were turning tables at séances across the country. They tried to hear long-departed voices, levitate musical instruments, and channel strange languages, breaching supposed barriers between the natural and the supernatural, soul and matter, the known and the unknown. But how were people supposed to judge what was going on, and who could be relied on for expert guidance? Was science able to determine whether the séance was real?
In 'The Tables Turned', the British Society for the History of Science's "Strolling Players" visit the world of Victorian spiritualism. Travelling back in time to the early 1860s, join them at a meeting of a scientific society to question processes of observation, fact-making, objectivity and reasoning, as well as the relationship between expert men of science and the wider public. Through film, role-play and debate, this is a journey into the boundary between science fact and science fiction.
This event is sponsored and organised by the Outreach and Education Committee of the British Society for the History of Science
Suitable for ages 12+ (Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).
The International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine is the largest event in the field, and takes place every four years. Recent meetings have been held in Mexico City (2001), Beijing (2005) and Budapest (2009).
The Congress in 2013 will take place (between 21st and 28th July) in Manchester, described by organisers as the original "shock city" of the Industrial Revolution. During the conference tours and displays, on local scientific, technological and medical heritage are co-ordinated by members of the University's Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. The Portico is delighted to be chosen as venue for two of the events.
When & Where
The Portico Library
Still in its original 1806 building, the Portico Library and Gallery celebrates both the historic and contemporary culture of Manchester, welcoming the public, researchers and members to its unique 19th century book collection and 21st century literary, scientific, educational and artistic events and exhibitions.