A lot of the interest created by the Mobile Exhibit is the displays which are an iatrical part of the presentation. Not only is history talked about, but actual pieces of history are there for the seeing and in some cases for the handling. There is a 36 foot wide timeline which covers over 5,000 years of Simply Words.
Within the Scriptorium the beginning of writing is displayed along with visualization of the development of the alphabet we use today. There are examples of the diverse use of writing without which civilization would have never developed. There is a farmer’s almanac, business transactions, laws and codes of conduct, poetry and dramas. There is a stylus, brush and pen for writing on clay tablets or papyrus, parchment or even turtle shells. There is wet clay and a stylus waiting for some brave student to try his or her hand as being a scribe.
The development of the book is displayed went from clay to rolled scrolls and then to the codex. Displayed is a replica of about 40 yards long scroll that is 16 inches wide. It show that without page numbers, chapter heads and indexes it was almost impossible to find specific passages. These are hand written manuscripts show the careful attention to detailed writing and the how the illumination on the pages of these books is beautiful art.
A scribe’s cubical is replicated with stool, desk top, copy holder, manuscripts, eyeglasses, pens and inks. There is a noticeable absence of candles because an open flame was extremely dangerous to books,
Not all of the books were religious in nature, but represented the research of early scientists such as the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Newton. Others were explorers like Marco Polo whose published journal had a great influence on Christopher Columbus.
The Benjamin Franklin Printing Shop is constructed as a replica of 18th Century Print Shop, most notably, Benjamin Franklin’s, the items on display not only represent what would have been in Benjamin Franklin’s printing shop, but also the items which Gutenberg needed to develop for him to be able to print. There had been virtually no changes to the printing press and it accompanying tools, inks and papers from the 1450s to the 1750s.
A working English Common Press
Marble top ink table with ink tin, beater balls, wood mallet, wood chisel
Small wood table with stack of blank paper
Metal type cases and drawer cabinet
Leather apron for printer/docent
Non-tempered steel shaft with an individual letter engraved on its end, metal chisel & vise
Hand type mold
Line to hang drying prints on
Students get to pull “devil’s tail” and print something for their school and/or classroom.
Displayed on easels and table top are copies of Bradford’s “Pilgrim’s Plantation, copy of John Smith’s map of New England and/or early map of the Mediterranean, copy of page from Gutenberg Vulgate Bible, original examples of Colonial printing, such as colonial government documents, newspapers, Common Sense, U.S. Constitution and other documents which help bring historical individuals
to life, Federalist Papers, Poor Richard’s Almanac, Peter Zenger’s newspaper (free speech trial in NYC),
On another display Examples of 19th century printing such as, Civil War, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address as reported in newspapers, Lincoln’s assignation, example of different and early stages of the paper-back book, McGuffey’s Readers, the Lewis and Clark Journals, Route From Liverpool to the Great Salt Lake Valley—Frederick Piercy, a pocket-sized folding map of the Mormon Trail (a 19th century version of the trip-tik), first edition of the Deseret News and later editions reporting significant events (Utah statehood, etc.) Utah State government printing (see book Printing in the Desert for examples), other newspapers, examples of Deseret Alphabet
The Digitorium is futuristic looking using acrylic displays and furnishings whenever and wherever possible.
Displayed on a banner is a collage of the development of the computer from the weaver’s loom to latest computer application
There is a modernistic communication cubical with TV screen, speakers, ipad, kindle, iphone,desktop computer with monitor. Different colors of lights are flashing to the tempo of music, Iphone is ringing, docent answers it. Pictures appear on the computer monitor and ipad. One can sit in the futuristic looking chair with head phones on.
On the large screen tv examples of printed material during the 20th and 21st centuries are displayed. Books, magazines, newspaper (including color newsprint) advertising, record and CD jackets, all, depicting science, education, the arts, religion, governments, commerce, business. The video on the large screen TV shows examples of the progression of printing with the computer controlling gigantic presses to desk-top publishing; from typewriters to messaging on a cell phone, voice recognition, and lap top computers to iPods, eBooks, and Smart Phones which ends with a one minute video time capsule featuring “far out’ suggested applications for written and printed technologies in the future.