Museum of Playing Cards

(May 14, 2010)
A few days ago I visited the Museum of Cards in Vitoria-Gasteiz. It had examples not only of Heraclio Fournier’s playing cards, but also of cards from different countries and time periods: Spain, France, England, Japan, China, from the 10th century (when playing cards where invented in China!) to the present day.

But the museum was most interesting because of the variety of kinds of cards, a variety that no longer seems to exist.  There were circular cards, playing cards commemorating historical events, cards with maps to help people learn geography, Tarot cards, and my favorite: musical cards.  Each of these contained part of a musical score, and so by combining them differently different melodies could be played.

I think creative playing cards could be used effectively in schools, to aid the learning process in a fun way. They could be used for anything with a somewhat modular structure or lots of connected facts: like music, language, history or math. It would be fun to think up a game involving playing cards with axioms and theorems.

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