We do not have many accounts of the arrangement of Farnham Museum when Pitt-Rivers was still alive. For an eye-witness account of it from 1898 see here.

In 1929 L.H. Dudley Buxton [1] edited a guidebook to the Museum. This contains a description, in Part II, of the 'arrangement of the museum'. Dudley Buxton describes the general purpose of the Museum as being 'to illustrate the arts and crafts of peasant communities'. [p. 27] Of course, it is not known how much the museum might (must?) have changed from 1882 to 1900, or from 1900 to 1929 but for the insight it gives to the museum some thirty years after Pitt-Rivers death. It seems likely that Pitt-Rivers successors (both familial and museum staff) increased the collections after his death. There certainly appear to be items in the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum said to have been transferred from Farnham Museum which do not appear in the Cambridge University Library catalogue.

Here are some extracts from the description:

Room 1

Very few items are listed in the catalogue as being placed in this room. Dudley-Buxton describes it as being the entrance showing peasant costumes.

Room 2

'Collection of Peasant Furniture from Brittany'.

Room 3


Room 4

'The most interesting feature of this room is the collection of locks and keys'.  [p. 27]

Room 5

'Exhibition of finds made by General Pitt-Rivers in his excavations in the neighbourhood'. [p. 27] The displays also included the wooden models he had caused to be made of his excavations.

Room 6

Pottery collections. 'Special attention is directed to the early local pottery, the collection from Cyprus, and to the medieval and modern European pottery'. [p. 28]

Room 7

'The arts and crafts of modern and ancient peoples'.  [p. 28] These included stone tools from both archaeological and modern cultures. In addition, 'Crafts of the civilized races of Asia will also be found in this room'.  [p. 28]

Room 8

'The Agricultural Room' showing items like the development of the plough, and including many models

Room 9

'contains specimens of the ceremonial objects, weapons, &c., of modern savage tribes' [p. 28]. This is the room the Benin bronzes were displayed in.

Bibliography for this article

Dudley-Buxton, L.H. 1929.The Pitt Rivers Museum, Farnham: General Handbook, Farnham: Farnham Museum.

AP, 4 June 2010

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