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Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities

Museums were an expression of the western conviction in the onward march of the rational. Local civilisations were also the prime focus in other Asian imperial museums. This is the first book that examines the origins and development of museums in six major regions if the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It analyses museum histories in thirteen major centres in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India and South-East Asia, setting them into the economic and social contexts of the cities and colonies in which they were located. Museums in Canada have a longer, though somewhat chequered, history than elsewhere in the British Empire. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and the Royal British Columbia museum in Victoria were two notable, yet very different, expressions of imperial expansiveness . The book then overviews two representative museums: the South African Museum (SAM) in Cape Town and the Albany Museum in Grahamstown. The origins and development of the National Museum of Victoria (NMV) in Melbourne, South Australian Museum (SAuM) and Australian Museum (AM) are then discussed. New Zealand/Aotearoa, with its Canterbury Museum and War Memorial Museum, has discrete origins as a colony in the nineteenth century. Imperial museums in Asia were unquestionably distinctive compared with those of the territories of white settlement. A number of key themes emerge: the development of elites within colonial towns; the emergence of the full range of cultural institutions associated with this; and the modification of the key scientific ideas of the age.

The Canterbury Museum, Christchurch
John M. MacKenzie

. 10 Canterbury Museum, Christ Church, New Zealand. A modern recreation of Julius Haast’s museum display. The trustees included the Provincial Superintendent, the Judge of the Supreme Court, the Provincial Secretary, the Speaker of the Provincial Council and the Chief

in Museums and empire
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Tourism and the exhibition of Maori material culture
Kynan Gentry

exhibition of the country’s wares and the promotion of immigration. 18 Maori and Maori material culture were part of this ‘decorative exotica’ – displayed among potted flax, stuffed birds, scenic views of the country, and a moa from the Canterbury Museum. This form of display was extended at the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition with the introduction of an ethnological exhibition, apparently at

in History, heritage, and colonialism
Learning from Māori curatorship pastand present
Conal McCarthy
Arapata Hakiwai
, and
Philipp Schorch

used as a blueprint for a process of ­reconciliation in the public sector dubbed ‘biculturalism’.18 Until recently, the last ‘ethnologist’ working under that rubric was Roger Fyfe at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch. Elsewhere, the curatorial responsibility for taonga Māori rests almost exclusively with Māori staff who work in departments called Mātauranga Māori (Te Papa), Māori values (Auckland War Memorial Museum), or some equivalent title recognising an Indigenous framework. Nevertheless, the work of Fyfe and his immediate predecessors has also been

in Curatopia
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John M. MacKenzie

) This quotation appeared as an epigraph to the guide to the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand, published in 1895. It clearly represented an ideal to which the museum and its curator aspired. Yet the reality was very different. ‘Perfect order’ and ‘perfect elegance’ were seldom achieved by the colonial museum. The ‘disorderly and rude populace’ (making due allowance for Ruskin’s typical

in Museums and empire
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New Zealand claims Antarctica from the ‘heroic era’ to the twenty-first century
Katie Pickles

would be more profitable than minerals and of equal importance to science. Day argues that Antarctic exhibits at the Canterbury Museum were upgraded as a way of ‘using tourism to reinforce New Zealand’s sovereignty’, and to contribute towards making Christchurch the ‘capital’ of Antarctica. 42 Throughout the 1990s such momentum increased, with Christchurch hosting

in New Zealand’s empire
John McAleer

‘productions of Africa, Australia and Polynesia, India, China, and America, together with specimens of Natural History and Antiquities from various parts of the world’. 50 The theme of combining art and science in inaugural exhibitions was one that united many museums across the British Empire. For example, the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, addressed this theme when it opened in February 1870. William Rolleston, a prime instigator of the museum, quoted John Ruskin in seeing art as the interpreter and servant of

in Curating empire
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The South Australian Museum, Adelaide
John M. MacKenzie

were not used. Julius Haast’s descriptions of the expenditure on the Canterbury Museum filled Waterhouse with envy, as did the reported lavishness in neighbouring Victoria. But things were about to change, although the new dispensation would come with almost glacial slowness. After the period of economic difficulties, the board continued to press for a new wing to the Institute building or some other

in Museums and empire
Eric Richards

about Farmer. 11 Farmer is mentioned in Lucille Campey, Seeking a Better Future: English Pioneers of Ontario and Quebec (Toronto: Dundum, 2012), pp. 107–10. 12 N.W. Tildesley, ‘William Farmer’s emigration to Canada’, Shropshire News Letter of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, no. 40 (June 1971). 13 See Jennifer Quérée, Set Sail for Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury Museum, 2002), p. 27. 14 Erickson, Invisible Immigrants, pp. 195–202. 15 Marks and Richardson pointedly asked, ‘Are the explanations which the emigrants gave for their movement

in The genesis of international mass migration
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Science and art in Antarctica
Mike Pearson

Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. He found the sledge, Treaty obligations 217 Wilson’s drawing pencils, unexposed film and blubber stove. He removed nearly one hundred artefacts and distributed them amongst museums in New Zealand – there is a Thermos flask and zoological apparatus in Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand. In 1959, remnants of the canvas roof were visible at site; in 1985, items there included a woollen sock that had perhaps been used to block a leak in the walls during the blizzard. By 1990, remaining objects – including a ball of string

in Extending ecocriticism