Culture and Class in English Public Museums, 1850-1914 by Kate Hill

By Kate Hill

The 19th century witnessed a flowering of museums in cities and towns throughout Britain. in addition to delivering a spotlight for collections of artifacts and a spot of academic game, this paintings argues that municipal museums had an additional, social function. In a scenario of speedy city progress, allied to social and cultural alterations on a scale hitherto unknown, it used to be inevitable that conventional classification and social hierarchies could come less than huge, immense strain. hence, city elites started to glance to new equipment of controlling and defining the city atmosphere. One such manifestation of this was once the expansion of the general public museum. In past centuries museums have been the defend of realized and first rate minority, but by means of the top of the 19th century one of many relevant rationales of museums was once the schooling, or 'improvement', of the operating sessions. within the regulate of museums too there has been a corresponding shift clear of deepest aristocratic management, towards a middle-class civic directorship and a growing to be specialist physique of curators. This paintings is partially a learn of the construction authority and autonomy by way of museum curators. extra importantly notwithstanding, it truly is concerning the stablization of middle-class identities by way of the tip of the 19th century round new hierarchies of cultural capital. Public museums have been a massive think about developing the id and authority of sure teams with entry to, and regulate over, them. by means of interpreting city identities in the course of the cultural lens of the municipal museum, we will re-examine and higher comprehend the subtleties of nineteenth-century city society.

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