Philip McEvansoneya
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Sir William Gregory and the origins and foundation of the Colombo Museum
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When he arrived in Colombo in 1872 as the new governor of Ceylon, one of the first things to confront William Gregory was the plan to establish a public museum in the colony. Sir William was an important politician and an influential figure, albeit usually behind the scenes, in British and Irish cultural life. Tiring of Parliament by about 1869, Gregory went in pursuit of a colonial appointment, and the governorship of Ceylon caught his eye. By the time of Gregory's arrival in Colombo, where he was sworn in on 4 March 1872, momentum had been acquired by the long-standing plan to establish a public museum. The earliest suggestions came from within the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (CBRAS). Gregory continued and expanded the work of the Archaeological Commission on inscriptions which were of interest for the historical evidence they contained and for their linguistic form.

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Curating empire

Museums and the British imperial experience


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