Cover image of Material Culture

Material Culture

Collaboratively produced by students in Columbia's podcast club, Material Culture examines objects from our special collections and archives to learn about history and human society.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

Warning: This podcast has few episodes.

This means there isn't enough episodes to provide the most popular episodes. Here's the rankings of the current episodes anyway, we recommend you to revisit when there's more episodes!

Podcast cover

RCA Mark II Synthesizer

A synthesizer the size of an entire room from the dawn of the age of computing lives at Columbia University's Prentice Hall. Why has it been preserved all of these years and why was it even constructed, given the great expense and the fact that it had only one function. Music Librarian Nick Patterson shares the story behind the birth of electronic music and its connections to early computing here at Columbia.  [...]Read More...


13 Dec 2019

Rank #1

Podcast cover

The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta: Western Manuscript 107

It is a small book-sized manuscript, like one you would find on your shelf. On both ends, there are two wooden boards that are covered in leather. And you can kind of see along the edge of the spine where all of the different choirs or gatherings of pages have been kind of sewn to [...]Read More...


13 Dec 2019

Rank #2

Podcast cover

The Tibetan Buddhist Thangka Painting from the C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Columbia’s resident Thangka is about three feet tall, and maybe two feet across. But the painting itself actually only makes up about 1/3 the area of the entire piece. Surrounding the painting is a beautiful cotton frame that flows with gold silk and red ribbons. The painting features a background with an atmospheric perspective of the horizon between a blue sky and body of water. The foreground depicts an abundance of objects, shapes, plants, and patterns surrounding the subject of the painting: Manjushri, The Bodhisattva of Wisdom. [...]Read More...


13 Dec 2019

Rank #3

Podcast cover


Introducing Material Culture, a podcast from Columbia University Library that explores objects from our libraries, rare book and manuscript collections, and archives. Taking objects as our primary sources, we ask: What can our cultural artifacts teach us about society and ourselves? [...]Read More...


10 Dec 2019

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts