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THE ORIGINS OF MUSEUMS

THE ORIGINS OF MUSEUMS

70.00


The Cabinet of Curiosities in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Europe

Hardcover

Four years ago History Today carried a feature describing The Origin of Museums as "a cult book [that] spawned a new discipline in the history of collecting." Indeed, its initial publication (1985) marked a propitious moment in the development of interest in the genesis of museums -- a popular subject these days.

This is a book with a history of its own: That first edition sold out within a few months, a second impression a year or two later, and then a third. There were to be no further printings by the original publishers, Oxford University Press. A new print-on-demand edition with a new publisher met buoyant demand before the firm folded. Original copies then went for hundreds, sometimes thousands of English pounds. Now the Ashmolean has a beautiful new edition with color illustrations and helpful notes.

The word museum came from the Latin word for library or study -- or a seat or shrine... and earlier, from the Greek -- for a temple devoted to the Muses. In Europe the first museums were places for collecting -- later exhibiting -- 'curiosities' and then for housing a nobleman's collection of oddities or art.

The late Oliver Impey and Arthur Macgregor were Assistant Keepers at the Ashmolean Museum and both were involved with the Journal of the History of Collections.EDITED BY OLIVER IMPEY AND ARTHUR MACGREGOR 

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