Hill Museum & Manuscript Library’s online vHMML Museum goes live

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May 14, 2019

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The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University announces a new component to vHMML, its online resource for manuscript studies. vHMML Museum went live on May 1 and allows anyone to freely search and interact with prints, drawings, pottery, photographs and slides from HMML’s collections. Works from HMML’s collections of Western, Middle Eastern, African, and East Asian art and artifacts are also included. Users can search the collections by object type, name, title, century, language, and culture.

The largest component of vHMML Museum is Arca Artium, the collection of the late Br. Frank Kacmarcik, which was donated to Saint John’s University in 1995. An oblate of Saint John’s Abbey, Kacmarcik spent decades traveling the world collecting books and art. With an emphasis on religious and monastic art, the collection contains over 6,000 prints, as well as three-dimensional objects. In its entirety, the collection has been described as a comprehensive exploration of the interplay between religious themes and artistic creativity. A significant portion of Arca Artium is already accessible through vHMML Museum, with more to come soon.

vHMML Museum will also display a collection of art from MUŻA – The National Museum of Fine Arts (Mużew Nazzjonali tal-Arti) in Valletta, Malta. With nearly 300 individual prints and drawings, the entire collection will eventually be available on vHMML Museum. MUŻA also contains a large cartographic collection of over 1,000 pre-1800 maps of Italy, Malta, the Mediterranean, and Europe, including nearly 100 manuscript maps. These maps help researchers understand the increasing complexity of navigation and commerce during the late medieval and early modern period, as well as shifting political boundaries.

In addition, vHMML Museum hosts the Alberic Culhane OSB Collection, which contains earthenware objects excavated from a Bronze Age site in Jordan, and the Robert A. Hadley Slide Collection, with images of archeological and architectural sites in the Middle East.  It also includes digitized slides from Father Columba Stewart's collection, drawn from historic sites throughout Egypt, Greece, and the Middle East.

“As an organization committed to cultural preservation, HMML has grown its collection of art over the past several decades. With limited room for exhibitions within our current space, vHMML Museum allows us to make these beautiful and rare works accessible to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. This platform will allow us to engage an even broader audience of people passionate about exploring history and culture,” said HMML executive director, Father Columba Stewart.

vHMML Museum is free and open to the public, and no registration is required to view and explore its online collections. Go to www.vhmml.org/museum.

The vHMML platform also includes fully digitized manuscripts and rare printed books from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India in its Reading Room, and an array of digital resources to study these manuscript cultures. A global organization, HMML is committed to advancing manuscript research and scholarly inquiry by digitally preserving, providing access to, and interpreting manuscript collections from around the world.