Journal Article

Cambridge’s ‘Shrine of the Muses’1

Mary Beard

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 24, issue 3, pages 289-308
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhr032
Cambridge’s ‘Shrine of the Muses’1

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The display of the classical antiquities in the Fitzwilliam Museum changed dramatically between 1848, when the Museum opened, and 1898. At first sight, it appears to be a transition from disorder to order, ‘muddle’ to scientific classification. This paper investigates that transition. Drawing on Museum and University archives, it outlines the history of the growth of the classical collection over the first fifty years of the Fitzwilliam, in the context of the history of the Museum in general. It argues that – far from disorder to order – we see a shift between two different regimes of museum display and ‘ways of seeing’, one focused on the history of the objects through their donors to the museum; the other focused on archaeological context and provenance.

Journal Article.  13073 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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