Nature's Museums: Victorian Science and the Architecture of Display

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Athlone, 1999 - History - 199 pages
Today's perception of science as a secular profession was developed in the Victorian period, the same time that the natural history museum was invented. The architecture of British natural history museums reveals the complex definitions of nature in the Nineteenth Century, raising many questions: what is nature; how is nature defined; how can nature best be presented to diverse audiences? Natural knowledge was locally-produced; this assertion is proven here through careful social historical accounts of the buildings, their displays, and their reception. By embracing contradictory concepts of nature (from nature as resource to be capitalised by the empire, to nature as the second book of God), Nature's Museums allows the buildings themselves to act as a guide to the Victorians' understanding of the natural world.

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Contents

INTRODUCTION I
1
Museums and power
8
SIGHTS UNSEEN BEFORE
14
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Carla Yanni is Assistant Professor of Art History, Rutgers University.

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