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Universal Histories and Universal Museums Workshop

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


The press and public reception of the 1876 and Trocadéro exhibitions

On 13th February 1875, the Lords of the Committee of Council of Education in the British Parliament proposed the future 'enlargement' of the South Kensington Museum 'into a Museum somewhat of the nature of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris; and other similar institutions on the continent." (Catalogue of the Special Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus, p.xi). Three years later, reviewing the 'Retrospective' exhibition at the Trocadéro, an English curator made unfavourable comparison of the British collections, pedagogy and display practices with the 'method, lucidity and instructiveness which seem natural in the French'. This presentation will make transnational comparison of the development of the South Kensington and Trocadéro museums through the eyes of a number of key protagonists in London and Paris: museum administrators and curators, the press and the public. Referencing internal committee papers, publications produced to support visitors such as Handbooks, Catalogues and Conferences, and press and journal reviews, it will investigate the temporary exhibitions as a 'zone of cultural debate …where types, forms and domains of culture are encountering, interrogating and contesting each other in new and unexpected ways' (Appadurai and Breckenridge, 1988: 6).

Event (Conference)

TitleUniversal Histories and Universal Museums Workshop
LocationDana Center
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionNational event