Natural History Department of the Crystal Palace Described

Natural History Department of the Crystal Palace Described

by Robert Gordon Latham, Edward Forbes
     
 
The Crystal Palace Company published a series of official handbooks in 1854 for displays in its Sydenham pleasure park. The "Natural History Court" had two organising themes. First, ethnology was a new discipline in the 1850s. Displays included material from thirteen exotic human groups. (Sometimes, they also included living visitors from those groups). Latham's guide

Overview

The Crystal Palace Company published a series of official handbooks in 1854 for displays in its Sydenham pleasure park. The "Natural History Court" had two organising themes. First, ethnology was a new discipline in the 1850s. Displays included material from thirteen exotic human groups. (Sometimes, they also included living visitors from those groups). Latham's guide emphasises what visitors could not see displayed, such as language and religious practices. He also shows his discipline's obsession with rankings - one culture against another - together with the cultural biases inherent in their work. Second, zoology and botany were represented by regional displays. Forbes was a naturalist in the tradition of Alexander von Humboldt. This catalogue mentions most of the specimens displayed. It also stresses fundamental principles of biogeography. Written five years before Darwin's Origin of Species, Forbes' essay nicely shows how naturalists theorized before evolutionary ideas took hold.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781906267223
Publisher:
Euston Grove Press
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Pages:
98
Product dimensions:
5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.23(d)

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