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19th Century Natural History Collections: Shropshire Museum Display

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on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of 19th Century Natural History Collections: Shropshire Museum Display

19th Century Natural History Collections Collecting Culture Classification Self-improvement Entertainment Social order Since textbooks and photographs weren't available as they are today, actual specimens were required for study. Collecting is the foundation of our knowledge of natural world: without it we wouldn't know nearly as much.

The collections are essential for future study. Creepy Crawlies Birds, Mammals and Reptiles Eggs Herbarium Shells Molluscs were particularly popular and often polished. Sometimes they were glued to boards or kept in little cabinets. Henry Blunt Charles Darwin William Allport Leighton Thomas Campbell Eyton Lived in Shrewsbury, 1806 - 1853
Chemist, artist and astronomer
Made models of moon craters
Links with Darwin Secretary of North Wales Natural History Society
Donated his large herbarium collection
Attended school with Charles Darwin Born in Wellington in 1809
Donated many specimens bird and mammal specimens
Personal friend of Charles Darwin, who used Eyton's research to support his work (despite Eyton being opposed to his theory of natural selection)
Built a natural history museum at Eyton Hall Born and lived in Shrewsbury (until age 27)
Attended Shrewsbury School
Credits growing up in Shropshire as a factor in his love for the natural world
His collections are housed all over the world Carl Linnaeus presented a classification system to organise all living things. This was seen as "...both a symbol and an agent of a larger intellectual triumph..." By classifying the living world, people felt they had a mastery over it. Hobbies became popular and people devoted time to a variety of activities, including collecting. Romanticism Natural history museums were an acceptable form of entertainment for everyone, along with "pleasure grounds, parks and even public houses." Pastimes The Victorian desire for self-improvement influenced society. Visiting museums was a perfect way to develop as a person, as well as to be seen doing so. "...understanding nature required an attitude of admiration, love and worship..." Different types of natural history specimens were preserved using a variety of preservation and storage techniques. 002776 sy14662 sy4674 sy4736 sy4940 sy4737 sy3828 sy3829 sy3830 12348-0 16939-0 sy0953 sy0933 sy1192 sy6503 sy1869 A selection of Shropshire collectors who contributed to science during the Victorian era.

Many were polymaths: someone whose expertise spans a significant number of disciplines or subject-areas. Victorians used nature to inspire their imagination and provoke strong emotions in themselves. sy0152 Museum displays encouraged the view that there was an order to society as well as the natural world. Insects were usually pinned in drawers. Spiders were fluid-preserved (as were larger insects) because of their fattier bodies. Botanical specimens were pressed and fixed to paper, building up large botanical libraries or 'Herbaria'. Eggs had holes drilled in them and were blown. They were often kept in cabinets. Vertebrates can be preserved in different ways: stuffed, fluid-preserved or as skeletons and skulls.
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