Mathematical models and extraordinary embroidery at the University of Dundee

I was up in Dundee last week so I got the chance to see two new exhibitions produced by the University of Dundee Museum Services. The first, in the Tower Foyer Gallery, is “The Art of Teaching.” This features wall charts and models used as teaching aids before the advent of computers. The wall charts are really fun to look at. The ones showing cells could almost be mistaken for a piece of abstract art. However, my favourite item in the exhibition was actually one of the mathematical models. These were used to illustrate complex mathematical equations. I found the shape of the Triply-connected Riemann surface model very pleasing. (Just don’t ask me to explain the mathematical meaning behind it, that’s a bit too advanced for me!)

Upstairs in the Lamb Gallery the current exhibition is “And So to Embroider: The Needlework Development Scheme 1934-1961.” As any of my colleagues can tell you, I am a real fan of all things textile related, so was very excited to see the objects on display here. There is real range of embroidery styles and techniques on show. This did make it completely impossible for me to choose one (or even two) favourite things in the exhibition. If you are interested in finding out more about the Needlework Development Scheme or textile collections in Scotland, I’d like to use this opportunity to direct you to the Scottish Textile Heritage Online website.

If you aren’t going to be able to make it up to Dundee to see either of these exhibitions, because it’s far from wherever you are, the museum service have thoughtfully made images of the objects available on their website. You can also take a look at their other collections online.


  1. Thanks Matthew. I never thought I’d hear myself say that my favourite object was something to do with maths. So, there we have the beauty of museums, they help you to see things in a different way.

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