If Auckland has been called an extension of the Australian frontier, Canterbury was conceived as 'a transplanted model English community', planned and executed by the Canterbury Association in 1850. A Canterbury guide book of 1907 was quite clear that Christchurch possessed the 'finest Museum south of the line', and that it was the moas that had put it 'far ahead of other colonial museums'. Moa skeletons appropriately occupied pride of place in the centre of the new museum's main hall. Julius Haast secured a cast of the bones of a moa, the extinct and flightless bird that was to feature very prominently in the museum's history. The Wellington and Auckland museums were closely connected with their associate societies, but in Canterbury, the Christchurch educational institutions became more important.
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.
The book shows how people have come to approach the writing of imperial histories in the early twenty-first century. It explores the social and political contexts that informed the genesis and development of the Studies in Imperialism series, and the conceptual links it has sought to forge between empire and metropolitan culture. The book provides an insightful account of John MacKenzie's 'Orientalism': the problems of 'power' and 'agency'. The 'MacKenziean moment' needs to be read historically, as a product of the 'delayed arrival of decolonising sensibilities', where contemporary popular phenomena and new types of scholarship integrated Britain and its empire. Sexuality made early appearances in the Series through the publication of 'Empire and Sexuality'. MacKenzie's 'Empire of Nature', 'Imperialism and the Natural World', and 'Museums and Empire' convey the impact of his scholarship in the themes of exploration, environment and empire. The historical geographies of British colonialism have enjoyed a prominent place in the Series, and the book explores the ways in which different 'spatial imaginations' have been made possible. Discussions on colonial policing during the depression years, and on immigrant welfare during and after decolonisation, take their cue from MacKenzie's European Empires and the People. The later nineteenth century witnessed the interaction of many diasporas, which in turn produced new modes of communication. By dealing with the idea of the 'Third British Empire' and the role of the Indian press during and after the British Raj, the book repositions British imperial histories within a broader set of global transformations.
perspective on museums and empire seen from the ‘other’ side, offering an indigenous view that contradicts some scholarly assumptions about the display of the Other. In the next section I briefly review the international literature, which calls for a more historicised approach to museums and empire, and New Zealand research which points to the specific local experience of empire as a ‘middle ground’ between coloniser and colonised. The idea of recolonisation is used to reframe the understanding of cultural difference within settler
of the strongest themes to emerge from the symposium papers and the discussion they inspired was the role of curators and the agency of individuals in shaping the relationship between museums and empire. The term ‘curator’ was not fixed, but subject to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. 32 The figures explored here ranged from museum progenitors and long-term curators to superintendents and directors. In the case of Thomas Baines, whose role as a curator is explored by John McAleer, this was a very brief interlude
Museum Centenary Souvenir (Colombo: s.n., 1977; reprint 2000), gives a general history of the museum. See also John M. MacKenzie, Museums and Empire: Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), chapter 10, esp. pp. 243–4. 4 Bastiampillai, The Administration , p. 149; ‘Ceylon’, The Times , 9 September 1873, p. 4. The idea for a colonial museum was much discussed in the 1870s, particularly in connection with the fate of the
Baines , ed. J. P. R. Wallis, 3 vols (London: Chatto and Windus, 1946), vol. 1, p. 4. 14 John M. MacKenzie, Museums and Empire: Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), pp. 1–17. 15 P. R. Kirby (ed.), The Diary of Dr Andrew Smith , 2 vols (Cape Town: The Van Riebeeck Society, 1940), vol. 2, pp. 212–15. 16 Charles Piazzi Smith, ‘Charles Davidson Bell
. Torrence and A. Clarke, ‘Creative Colonialism: Locating Indigenous Strategies in Ethnographic Museum Collections’, in R. Harrison, S. Byrne and A. Clarke (eds), Reassembling the Collection: Ethnographic Museums and Indigenous Agency (Santa Fe: SAR 171 172 North America Press, 2013); A.K. Brown, First Nations, Museums, Narrations: Stories of the 1929 Franklin Motor Expedition to the Canadian Prairies (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015). 14 Onciul, Museums, Heritage and Indigenous Voice. 15 Ibid. Brown, First Nations, Museums, Narrations; J.M. MacKenzie, Museums and Empire
Century (Kingston, ON, and Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988), pp. 95–101. 7 John M. MacKenzie, Museums and Empire: Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), p. 137. 8 Ibid ., p. 138. 9 Sheets-Pyenson, Cathedrals of Science , pp. 52–3. 10 Ibid ., p. 33. 11 Ian Wilkinson, ‘Frederick McCoy and the
), Exhibiting the Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012); J. M. MacKenzie, Museums and Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009). 26 MacAleer and MacKenzie (eds), Exhibiting The Empire , pp. 2–3. 27 P. J. ter Keurs, ‘Introduction: Theory and Practice of Colonial Collecting’, in ter Keurs (ed.), Colonial Collections Revisited , p. 3. 28 A. Appadurai, The Social Life of Things (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); S. Byrne, A. Clarke, R. Harrison and R. Torrence (eds), Unpacking the Collection (New York: Springer, 2011