John M. MacKenzie
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The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto and the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria
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The implication of museums in the imperial expansiveness of the late nineteenth century is a familiar phenomenon. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and the Royal British Columbia museum in Victoria were two notable, yet very different, expressions of this phenomenon. The fact that the ROM contains one of the richest Chinese collections of any museum is largely down to White and the encouragement he received from Charles Trick Currelly. White believed that his justification was that Canada should have the opportunity to appreciate the glories of Chinese civilisation, as well as understand a great country and potential trading partner, which shared a Pacific Rim location. The result of ROM's imperialism was that Toronto's civic coming of age had taken the form of a desire to slot itself into the world civilisations of the past, into international empires rather than British.

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Museums and empire

Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities


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