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The Medicine Chest

First Encounters



First Encounters

Is Part Of


"The caption for the image offered further information about the department in which the medicine chest was located, stating: ‘Black metal travelling medicine chest, containing bottles and packets of medication belonging to Walter Floyd, given to UCT by the Floyd family (Manuscripts and Archives).’

It seemed strange to me that this three-dimensional object would be housed in the Manuscripts and Archives (M&A) department (also known as ‘Special Collections’) of UCT Library, as it hosts collections of ‘printed and audio-visual materials on African studies and a wide array of other specialised subjects, as well as over 1,300 sub-collections of unique manuscripts and personal papers’ (Special Collections 2015). As my italics emphasise, bulkier three-dimensional objects seemed to have no place here.

I nonetheless thought it worthwhile to type the words ‘medicine chest’ into the general library search engine, an application called Ex Libris Primo; the search delivered no results" (Liebenberg 2021: 24).

Access Rights

Centre for Curating the Archive


Date Created



Skotnes, P., Langerman, F. & Van Embden, G. 2004. Curiosity CLXXV: A paper cabinet. Cape Town: LLAREC Series in Visual History.


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