Interacting and engaging: The Bridges Collection at MUSA

Through a Glass Darkly Student Focus Group at MUSA.

This month MUSA is hosting a fantastic new interactive exhibition featuring The Bridges Collection of ancient Cypriot artefacts. Donated to the University of St Andrews by Mrs Bridges in 1994 for use as teaching aids in the School of Classics it comprises a wide range of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Byzantine artefacts including bowls, jugs and other wonderful household items!


Through a Glass Darkly: Perceptions of Art, Artefact and Context is a research project led by Dr Rebecca Sweetman  from the School of Classics in collaboration with MUSA. The project aims to digitise all artefacts within The Bridges Collection in order to increase public and educational use of the material. The exhibition, held in MUSA’s Learning Loft, is audience-driven, aiming to encourage members of the public to consider how digital media, such as the 3D digitisation of artefacts, can change or impact our understanding of material culture. The exhibition asks how we comprehend the function of an object, what we can deduce about its history and what makes us categorise it as ‘art’ or ‘archaeological artefact.’

In order to answer these questions, MUSA is holding focus group sessions where students and members of the public are able to put forward their opinions in an open and stimulating environment. It gives the participants the chance to really get involved with a current museum exhibition and to take part in an ongoing research project for the School of Classics. During the session you are encouraged to contemplate the function and design of the artefacts, as well as the context of their burial and consequent discovery. By studying the display itself, having a feel of replicated objects in the ‘ feely boxes’ and by playing with the 3D digitisations of the objects much wider sense.



Red Painted Jug from The Bridges Collection HC1994.3 (90)

As a Museum and Gallery Studies student, I recently relished the chance to take part in one of these focus groups, not only because we were given the opportunity to hold and interact with real Bronze Age artefacts but also because it paves the way for a new era of 3D exhibits and online resources at MUSA. The work that the team have done on The Bridges Collection is a fantastic representation of the new approaches to historical research being carried out at the University of St Andrews.

I would strongly recommend anyone to go along and take part in the interactive exhibition at MUSA which runs until the end of September. You can just pop in to the Learning Loft and take the online surveyor alternatively attend one of the team’s focus group sessions and see what you can bring to the table !


For more information see:


Through a Glass Darkly Research Group:

(School of Classics)

  • Prof. Rebecca Sweetman
  • Sophia Mirashrafi
  • Jessie Schmitt
  • Alice Devlin


  • Alison Hadfield






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