Day 2 at Manuscript camp

For my vacation this year I decided to go to Manuscript camp! Its a week long workshop run by the U of MN Center for Medieval Studies and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University.

Sunday May 31st was Day 1.
-Check in between 4 and 630pm
-Reception at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at 7pm.

It took me an 1 1/2 to drive to St. Johns. Nice drive. No traffic and only one bit of construction. Got my room assignment (bed, desk, closet, bathroom, very basic and NO TV and the internet was not working). The reception was nice. Good food, nice people (14 or 15 students and 4 instructors. One of the largest groups they have ever had for a Manuscript workshop or boot-camp as someone called!).

Monday June 1st- Day 2
-breakfast 730-830am
-9-10 ‘What is a Manuscript’ talk by Theresa Vann
-10-1030 Coffee Break
-1030-1150 ‘How do I find a Manuscript’ by Theresa Vann
-12-1 Lunch’
-1-3 Treasure hunt– finding Manuscripts via reference books and the internet (example: “Paris, BN, Fr. 765” or “Drogo Psalter” find the title and if there are any shelfmarks or incipils).
-3-330 Break
-4-5 ‘St Johns Bible Talk’ and visit to the archives by Tim Ternes
-5-6 Supper

Had a great day! Learned a ton about Manuscripts at the lectures. Got to play around with some reference books and online resources for finding manuscripts. The talk on the St. John’s Bible was really, really interesting. Its almost done. When done next year- December 31, 2010, it will have taken 12 years to complete, 7 volumes (pages are 2×3 feet, each will weigh about 40 lbs), and they are built to last 1500 to 2000 years! The ink was purchased 40 years ago by the calligrapher/scribe Donald Jackson (the company was going out of business, so he got them for a really good deal and figured that he would use them on a future project) and they were originally made back in the 1870s! Its Chinese black ink which was made out of soot. If they had to buy the ink in today’s market they could not afford it, as it goes for about $1000 per stick. Jackson bought 144 sticks of ink and will use 142 on the bible. After the talk we got to visit the archives and look at some of the pages (including the first page-an picture of the 7 days of creation). We even got to touch the St. Johns’s bible! It has not been bound, so the ends still need to be trimmed off and that was what we got to touch. I touched the page where God was talking to Moses on Mount Sinai. The illustrations are beautiful. There are images of dragon flies, people, animals (almost all of which are native to Minnesota), etc. Sadly we were not allowed to take any photos and had to leave all bags and purses out in the hallway.

After supper it was still pretty nice out, so I walked around taking some photos of the Abbey (outside and inside). Checkout my Flickr account to the right to see those photos.