The Emergence of the Modern Museum: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Sources
Oxford University Press, 2007
In 1820 less than a handful of museums existed on the British Isles, and both their form and function were far from what a visitor today would expect. By the beginning of the first world war, not only had over 400 museums been founded in Great Britain, but their place in culture was recognizably close and often identical to the modern one - whether considered in terms of content, forms of display, or modes of access. Although there has never been a single simple and uncontested amount of the character and function of the museum, it is to this period of inception that we may turn for the most urgent and compelling debates as to the nature of institutions that were set up with such effort and expense in England and all over the world. The goal of this anthology is to allow the reader access to primary sources indicative of the history and development of the museum in the nineteenth century, which is to say, at the moment the modern concept took institutional shape in response to the varied social and cultural debates.