Torture Exposed – Timeline Package

2021, Torture Exposed
capital punishment, digital, Early Modern, Europe, exhibition, gender history, Germany, interactive, material culture, online, social history, timeline, torture, virtual
About This Project

Date: TBD
Partner: Torture Exposed
Project Members: Madelaine Cirka, Sarah Irvine, Devon Sherwood
Torture Exposed’s virtual exhibition seeks to de-glorify acts of torture, and to explore and present related torture implements from a humanitarian viewpoint based on detailed historical research. The exhibition collection, which originated in Germany at the Castle of Nuremberg and has traveled all over the world, holds a vast number of objects used to perform and form a controlled narrative for early modern torture. 

The new project addition – a developing, interactive timeline – draws thematic connections between carefully chosen objects from the collection over the course of the early modern period. The two themes, Torture and Social Class and Torture and Gender, aim to emphasize different treatment based on social status, and between men and women as victims of torture. Through detailed contextual research, accessible interpretation, and creative interactive design, the timeline will offer visitors interactive engagement with the Torture Exposed virtual exhibition. Although both the exhibition and the timeline are still under development, the final project will be widely accessible via unrestricted internet access. This will allow for a self-guided tour through torture in Early Modern Germany and beyond via the use of thematic ‘stopping points’ on the timeline, which link back to the exhibition and object images themselves. The timeline’s current format will allow for the addition of supplementary themes related to religion and legal history in the future, thus offering further methods of engagement with the Torture Exposed collection.


All group members collaborated on communications, planning, object selection, and research. Madelaine Cirka functioned as the primary researcher and interpreter for torture and social class, and Devon Sherwood performed the primary research and interpretation for torture and gender. Sarah Irvine took the role of web designer, which included wireframing, layout, and interactivity. The group has also worked together to ensure contact points between themes and object images.


Timeline development was broken down into six main phases from September 2020 to April 2021: preliminary research, object selection, contextual and object research, interpretation, wireframing, and design. Due to the nature of the project, which is a research, interpretation, and design package, the team is not in charge of the exhibition and/or mounting. 

The team would like to thank Torture Exposed for collection access, object image use, and research support and Dr. Agnieszka Chalas and Camille-Mary Sharpe for their academic and management support.