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Keep Safe and Well: working magic into charms and amulets

The Horniman holds a number of 19th and 20th century folk magic objects, all collected in the British Isles. This short exploration through a few artefacts will look at some of the ways protective magic was imagined and used to keep people safe and well.

We need to take a longer historical view, what counts as magic has proved a problematic category as theologians, philosophers and scientists have sought to disentangle it from religion and science since medieval times, if not since antiquity!

But, this is not only about the dusty past, potent objects continue to prove meaningful today, although we might think of objects that 'bring us luck' rather than 'protect us from harm'.

Some of the ideas and information in this article came from an amulets workshop held at the Horniman in November 2013. Watch our specially commissioned film of the workshop below: