John M. MacKenzie
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South Africa
The Albany Museum, Grahamstown
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The influence of boredom upon history should never be underestimated. The Albany Museum in Grahamstown was partly conceived in boredom but developed in personal enthusiasms. Both those of Cape Town and Grahamstown began to flourish once the colonial revenues had been placed on a sounder footing through the 'mineral revolution' and resulting trade. Curiously in Grahamstown, the museum flourished at a time of considerable ecological crisis, when the town's economy was not doing well and drought and recession were endemic. Museums were more important in their social and intellectual effects. As Walter Hely-Hutchinson put it at the opening of the Albany Museum, the museum's objective was 'the promotion of culture and knowledge'. Selmar Schonland developed a large number of overseas contacts, founded The Records of the Albany Museum, and published extensively both in this journal, in the Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society, and in the Agricultural Journal.

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Museums and empire

Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities


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