PUBLIC TALK: The Mobile Museum: botanical exchanges between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Australia
|The Mobile Museum: botanical exchanges between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Australia
A public lecture by Mark Nesbitt, Curator and Senior Research Leader in economic botany at Kew Gardens.
The Museum of Economic Botany opened at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1847. As a display of useful plants and their products, it met two very Victorian aims: to be a bridge between producers of raw materials around the world and manufacturers in Britain, and to educate the public. Throughout its existence (1847-1987), the Museum grew to fill four large buildings. Today although the collection has grown to 100,000 plant raw materials and objects, including 1700 from Australia, these are in a research store. The very existence of museums of economic botany is mostly forgotten. This talk will explore how their history can be used to shine a powerful light on colonial history, and how historic specimens can take on new functions relevant to the modern world. It will draw on findings from The Mobile Museum: Economic Botany in Circulation, a major research project that is mapping the circulation of specimens across international networks of exchange in the 19th and 20th centuries. Specimens arrived at Kew by way of a complex network of scientific and personal relationships with collectors such as Emile Clement and Ferdinand von Mueller, and with similar museums at Australian botanic gardens. A remarkable number of specimens received by Kew – over 50,000 – were sent on to other museums, resulting in complex journeys for many Australian objects. What is revealed is a rich history of colonial, scientific and personal endeavour over a formative period in the development of Australia.
- Locations of venues on the Crawley and Nedlands campuses are
available via the Campus Maps website.
- Download this event as:
Mail this event: