In a world increasingly dominated by text-based communication, the New Brunswick Museum would like you to stop and consider what they are calling the Cursive Conundrum.
The new exhibit, that runs through to the beginning of May, is concerned with one question:
“The museum asks the question, is it still relevant for you?” says the museum’s director of exhibitions and visitor experience Dominique Gélinas.
“Because we have our own answer with the archives and also with the research that we are doing at the museum. But for society, is it still relevant?”
Schools across Canada are spending less and less time on teaching cursive, while the study of things like touch typing receives more focus. It all adds up to mean many students are lacking what used be an essential part of education.
Curator Felicity Osepchook says the museum has started receiving an increasing number of summer students who can’t read cursive, meaning whole swathes of the archives are unintelligible.
“So what we wanted to do in the exhibit is focus on a couple of things. First, of the importance of archives and the collections that are there and how it’s important to link the past, the present and the future,” she said.
Osepchook points out that for people who work with archives, such as writers, researches, or even people who are interested in finding out more about their family histories, being able to read cursive is a basic requirement.
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Gélinas says she still writes in cursive, even going as far to say that she finds somethings easier to do by hand than electronically.
For those interested in learning more about the history of the art, or getting some practice, the exhibit runs until May 26 and, as a special spring break treat, will be hosting impromptu classes, allowing would-be pupils to try out new pens every day at 10 am.