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Museums and Empire Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities by John M. MacKenzie

Museums and Empire Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities

Part of the Studies in Imperialism Series


Museums and Empire Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities by John M. MacKenzie

Museums and empire is the first book to examine the origins and development of museums in six major regions if the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It analyses museum histories in thirteen major centres in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India and South-East Asia, setting them into the economic and social contexts of the cities and colonies in which they were located. Written in a lively and informative style, it also touches upon the history of many other museums in Britain and other territories of the Empire. A number of key themes emerge from its pages; the development of elites within colonial towns and cities; the emergence of the full range of cultural institutions associated with this; and the reception and modification of the key scientific ideas of the age. It will be essential reading for students and academics concerned with museum studies and imperial history and to a wider public devoted to the cause of museums and heritage -- .


An outstanding and original book which deals both authoritatively and perceptively with an important but hitherto rather neglected aspect of imperial cultures. It is engrossing, deeply informative and beautifully written. There is no doubt that it will make a valuable contribution to scholarship across a range of disciplines, as well as enhancing the well-established Studies in Imperialism series.
Only a mature scholar with the range and experience possessed by someone like MacKenzie could have taken this on, and it is most welcome that he has done so. MacKenzie brings to the task the qualities that mark him out as our foremost historian of the cultures and ideology of empire: enormous span

, considerable powers of synthesis, and an eye that is ever alert to significant detail. As ever, he presents his research with consummate ease and style.
John M. MacKenzie has written a fascinating work

...A review cannot do justice to the richness and value of this work

Museums and Empire is an exceptional book, and it is hard to do justice to its enormous scope, depth of study, and complete erudition. The text should be on the reading list of every Museum Studies course. -- .

About the Author

John MacKenzie is Emeritus Professor of Imperial History, Lancaster University and holds Honorary Professorships at Aberdeen, St Andrews and Stirling, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at Edinburgh. -- .

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2010


John M. MacKenzie

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Manchester University Press


272 pages


Colonialism & imperialism



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