Art in Context | Educational Games at the YCBA

Free admission
About this program

Among the Yale Center for British Art's collection of games is Court Game of Geography, published in London between 1838 and 1855. This deck of fifty-two hand-colored playing cards edged in gold conveys information about world geography. Art historians and typical museum visitors are usually told not to touch museum objects, but this object requires touch and manipulation for it to “work” and for us to see, apprehend, and play. How did objects of this kind survive, since they were made to be used and manipulated, and for whom were they designed? 

About Ting Chang

Ting Chang is an associate professor of art history at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her current research project, “Playing Empire: Games, Spectacles, and Colonial Subjects,” examines British and French maps, board games, playing cards, and optical devices that required handling and manipulation in the long nineteenth century. These objects offered pre-digital immersive experiences, spectacles, and forms of play that shaped imperial and colonial subjectivities. Ting’s research focuses on the educational and ideological functions of games; interactions of visuality, tactility, and materiality in early board games, toys, and optical devices; and synesthesia and proprioception in play.

Art in Context

Presented by faculty, staff, student guides, and visiting scholars, these gallery talks focus on a particular work of art in the museum’s collections or special exhibitions through an in-depth look at its style, subject matter, technique, or time period.

Top image
Court Game of Geography, London, William and Henry Rock, between 1838 and 1855.