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A History of the Scientific Collections of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society's Museum in the Nineteenth Century: Acquiring, Interpreting & Presenting the Natural World in the English Industrial City

Steadman, Mark (2019) A History of the Scientific Collections of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society's Museum in the Nineteenth Century: Acquiring, Interpreting & Presenting the Natural World in the English Industrial City. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Nineteenth-century Britain witnessed an unparalleled growth of geographically discrete philosophical societies and purpose-built museums, above all, in the rapidly industrialising towns of Northern England. Making use of previously unexamined material connected to the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, its purpose-built Philosophical Hall, and the operation of the museum therein, this thesis offers an expansive analysis of an important nineteenth-century museum, its parent philosophical society, and their ever changing relationship with a growing industrial township and the emerging natural sciences. The thesis proceeds in three parts. Part One examines the emergence of the Society in 1818-1819, Philosophical Hall, and the Museum in 1821. Part Two focuses on museum practice in the nineteenth century, and explores three main themes: collecting practices, curatorial practices and public-facing activities such as the displays, exhibitions, events, publicity and the lecture programme. Part Three explores the eventual transition from private society to civic institution by looking at a long period of self-reappraisal undertaken by Society and Museum from the 1860s. The changing institutional horizon of the town and its impact on collecting patterns, advancements within the practice of the natural sciences and shifting sensibilities of the public are all considered, ultimately providing the contextual backdrop to the final transferral of the Society’s museum to Leeds Corporation in 1921.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: history of museums, history of science, philosophy of science, scientific collecting
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.805286
Depositing User: Mr Mark Steadman
Date Deposited: 11 May 2020 15:38
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25449

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