The Covid-19 pandemic has given people a new appreciation of safety. Talk of protective measures has dominated our lives for weeks and has impacted the work and daily routines of many people. One impact has been the need to change our physical exhibition into a virtual one.
We protect that which we value and perceive to be under threat. What is classed as a threat can vary around the world and between individuals, but many protective items are concerned with combatting the threats posed by humans, nature and spirits.
Defence can be active, achieved by attacking the danger directly, or passive – resisting harm or reducing the impact of threats. Some individuals rely on objects that are thought to channel power to defeat danger, such as a Christian cross, while others put their trust in physical barriers or institutions.
From Ancient Egyptian amulets to modern-day soap, this exhibition examines protective objects throughout world history to explore what societies value most.