By Neil Chambers
There was an upsurge of curiosity within the British Museum's unrivalled collections and their position in eighteenth-century tradition. targeting the explorer and naturalist Joseph Banks (1743-1820), this ebook explores the early background of collections on the British Museum, the 1st public nationwide museum to be proven. Banks travelled around the globe with James prepare dinner on HMS Endeavour, making very important plant, animal and bug collections. changing into one of many significant buyers of British exploration and technological know-how, Banks was once an important trustee and donor of fabric for the museum. Taking Banks's remarkable occupation as its foundation, this e-book examines the alterations that happened in the course of a interval of transition that resulted in accumulating on an more and more worldwide scale and exhibits how those affected the British Museum itself. The booklet will attract students of eighteenth-century technology, tradition and humanities, museum heritage, exploration and empire.
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When, like the Royal Society before it, the Linnean Society could no longer maintain a museum, Banks’s material was part of a donation of insects and shells that it made to the British Museum. 28 The Linnean Society donation was preceded in 1855 by the collections of the Zoological Society of London, sold to the Museum for £500. Much later, in 1911, the Geological Society gave its extensive collections to what was by then the Department of Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum, London. In making these transferrals each of the societies followed the early example set by the Royal Society.
Consequently, Howard had access to Museum and other meteorite specimens around London to support his work, but Howard was not the only chemist to benefit from Banks’s intervention at the Museum. Banks’s ‘exchange account’ operated in useful ways for a number of chemists seeking rock and mineral collections to investigate. Among them was Charles Hatchett, who carried out scientific tests on mineral samples 30 Natural History and Zoology obtained through the Banks account. Further tests performed on specimens from the Museum collections included those of William Hyde Wollaston, the inventor in 1809 of the reflecting goniometer.
Of much more importance in his view were other collections languishing at that time in the damp. He listed these in his report, and they included some impressive scientific material, namely: the osteological collection; ‘Monsters preservd in Spirits’; calculi (human and other animals); anatomical paintings, preparations and injections (probably from the Royal Society originally); mummies from Egypt and Teneriffe; birds and other animals in spirits; and a large collection of horns of various animals.