what of displaying and collecting at the end of empire? A twentieth-century history
would provide a sorely-needed historical context for the post-colonial turn in
museology, filling the gap between imperial sources and contemporary approaches.
Furthermore, I have only been able to hint at the role of museums in the ColdWar
and the fate of cultural institutions under Thatcher’s government in the 1980s. The
political history of UK museums in the twentieth century promises to be fascinating, and I hope that Nature and Culture provides a step in that direction
Hincks, the Keeper of Entomology. Hincks was skilled in securing donations – the Museum Committee congratulated him on ‘the efficient way in which he
conducted the negotiations’ – and he persuaded Lloyd not only to donate his own
insect collection, cabinets and library, but also to pay for the significant acquisition
of the Austrian lawyer Franz Spaeth’s collection for the entomology department.31
Hincks undertook the difficult mission of travelling to secure the collection in
Soviet-occupied Vienna at a time when Austria’s ColdWar neutrality was especially
that the history and nostalgia of the 1980s was an expression of the decline of the West and its fear of the future. He saw the West as being characterised by economic stagnation, pessimism, and ideological emptiness after the end of the ColdWar. The West had turned towards the past, with roots and tradition, to create new identities and contexts. Füredi viewed this development as a crisis of modernity, comparing his own present to the “fin de siècle” of the 1890s. He also criticised the use of the past as creating identities that are more about who people are than
division of the scientific disciplines of the nineteenth century into analytical and explanatory natural sciences on the one side and interpretative and understanding humanities on the other. And explanation and understanding are still two complementary ways of approaching knowledge (cf. Wright 1971 ), so there is no concept that could unite explaining and understanding, unite causes and intentions.
Snow’s idea about the two cultures had a great impact in an era in which the ColdWar created a polarisation between West and East. At the same time, it is easy to see