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Objects, disciplines and the Manchester Museum

At the turn of the nineteenth century, museums in Europe and North America were at their largest and most powerful. New buildings were bigger; objects flooded into them, and more people visited them than ever before. The Manchester Museum is an ideal candidate for understanding cultures of display in twentieth-century Britain. It is a treasure trove of some four million priceless objects that are irreplaceable and unique. Like many large European collections, the origins of the Manchester Museum are to be found in a private cabinet: that of John Leigh Philips. This book traces the fate of his cabinet from his death in 1814. The establishment of the Manchester Natural History Society (MNHS) allowed naturalists to carve out a space in Manchester's cultural landscape. The Manchester Museum's development was profoundly affected by the history of the University in which it operated. In January 1868, the Natural History Society formally dissolved, and an interim commission took control of its collections; the Manchester Geological Society transferred its collections the following year. The new collection was to be purely scientific, comprising geology, zoology and botany, with no place for some of the more exotic specimens of the Society. The objects in the collection became part of Manchester's civic identity, bringing with them traces of science, empire and the exotic. Other museological changes were afoot in the 1990s. Natural history collections became key sites for public engagement with environmental issues and biodiversity and more recently as sites for exhibiting art.

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The continuity of cultural value
Kate McLuskie
Kate Rumbold

be located outside the market. The transactions that made it possible have already taken place: the cultural object has already been produced, marketed and distributed, or in the case of ‘pricelessobjects, collected, studied, conserved and reproduced. The moment of consumption may surprise, disappoint, intrigue or sustain the consumer; it may make him or her a fan who will follow that kind of work as it is

in Cultural value in twenty-first-century England
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Museum historiographies
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

is a treasure trove of some four million priceless objects. It is irreplaceable, unique. And yet, the Museum is not unique in its uniqueness. By their very nature, every museum is inimitable, boasting distinctive collections with a singular history. Rather, the Manchester Museum is ripe for historical analysis because of its similarities with other institutions. It is a university collection, ranking with the Hunterian, the Pitt Rivers, the Ashmolean, the Sedgwick, the Hancock and the Petrie. It also functions as a provincial civic museum, alongside those in

in Nature and culture
Coupland, consumption and junk culture
Andrew Tate

naturally decomposing vegetation is covered with ‘uncountable cigarette packs, weather-yellowed pornography, candy wrappers, condoms . . . and clusters of stolen Mercedes hood ornaments’ (GIAC, p. 66). These sites of environmental squalor foreshadow the ruined, postplague landscape that Richard and Karen will inhabit in the novel’s third and final section. Jared even describes his listless friends as ‘useless sacks of dung’ as they kill time at the end of the world by ‘an endless string of videos’ (GIAC, p. 209). They are surrounded by once priceless objects that no

in Douglas Coupland