Gareth Knapman
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Curiosities or science in the National Museum of Victoria
Procurement networks and the purpose of a museum
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This chapter argues that collection acquisition contributed to the curatorial decisions that shaped the National Museum of Victoria as a museum for display and education rather than research. It examines the genesis of the museum in Melbourne and debates over its purpose. The chapter looks at why Frederick McCoy failed to develop a comprehensive domestic collecting mechanism within Australia. It explores McCoy's connections with, and reliance on, British natural history dealers. The chapter also looks at the role of scientific exchanges and McCoy's attitude to these within scientific networks. This demonstrates that McCoy's museum was a product of his procurement networks, which provided specimens for popular consumption and education rather than research. The importance of British natural history dealers to McCoy, and the centre-periphery and class relations that emerged in the interactions, are demonstrated by the story of Lovell Reeve.

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Curating empire

Museums and the British imperial experience


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