John M. MacKenzie
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Perfect order' and 'perfect elegance' were seldom achieved by the colonial museum. Amy Woodson-Boulton suggested that 'the museum movement in Britain and its Empire was widespread, but locally driven, without any central administration'. Major reconstructions have occurred in museums in Britain in recent years, and these have some resonances for Commonwealth developments. Some in the Commonwealth seem to be preserved in aspic, as in some galleries in the Indian Museum, Kolkata, or the Pacific ethnography display in the South Australian Museum, Adelaide. Notable examples of overall reconstruction and reformulation can be found in Victoria, British Columbia and Melbourne or Singapore. The colonial museum mutated into the 'national' (sometimes meaning provincial in federations) very quickly. Studies of museums need to pay them much greater attention. Some museums continue to play a significant role in scientific research.

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Museums and empire

Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities


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