Tag Archives: History of museums

Natural History Museum (where Dippy and Hope live)

Take a walk down Exhibition Road in London, and you won’t find just one famous museum but three: The Victoria and Albert is home of the arts; the Science Museum, the industrial sciences and technology; and the Natural History Museum with its iconic frontage and dinosaur skeletons, is where nature, botany, entomology, zoology and mineralogy […]

Maritime museums – ships, war, and trade

Greenwich is famous for many good reasons. It is the home of the meridian line for Greenwich Mean Time, the location of the Astronomer Royal’s observatory, where John Harrison’s sea watches (for calculating longitude) are displayed; there is a tea clipper, by the River Thames, in dry dock, the Cutty Sark, a museum ship nearly […]

Kirkleatham Museum – exploring local heritage

Up and down the British Isles there are numerous local heritage museums; in towns, even villages, whether managed by the local council or privately funded, they represent the treasures and artefacts that belong to communities and not the nation.Kirkleatham museum in Redcar, Yorkshire, is one such museum. Housed in the 18th century Old Hall, which […]

Fitzwilliam Museum – from personal to public

A museum doesn’t begin with an empty building waiting to be filled. What is usually the catalyst is a bequest, and a generous one that requires space – the repository.The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge began with such a bequest by Richard Fitzwilliam, 7th Viscount in 1816 of his art collection and library, plus £100,000 (substantial!). […]

Edward Elgar’s birthplace

Not all museums are housed in grand custom built buildings. Sometimes it is the building itself that is the Museum, none more so than the birthplace of a famous person, like an artist, writer or musician.Edward Elgar, a British composer, famed for his Pomp and Circumstance Marches and Enigma Variations, was born in a house […]

British or Beamish – the museum dilemma.

The mother of museums, but not the oldest, founded in 1753 during period of Enlightenment. World famous, controversial, imperial, and a tourist magnetic. Famed for its library and antiquities, the legacy of the vast sprawl of the British Empire. The objects in the British Museum embody knowledge from which both public and scholars might learn, […]

The Ashmolean Ark

John Tradescant the Elder was gardener to Charles I. Tradescant (and son, the Younger) travelled extensively to find new plant species and collected ‘rarities and oddities’, including utensils, household stuff, birds, beasts and instruments of war. He brought all of these together into what is now know as a museum, but back then was described […]


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