'Typological Museums, as exemplified by the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford, and his provincial museum at Farnham, Dorset', Journal of the Society of Arts, Dec 18, 1891 pp. 115-122



Museums may be established for different purposes, and the objects in them should be collected and arranged to further the particular purposes for which they are intended.

Technical museums may be established for instruction in art; to improve the taste of those engaged in manufactures. Of these, the South Kensington Museum, with the origin of which this Society had much to do, may be taken as a type. The National Gallery, in this sense, may be regarded as a museum of painting for the encouragement of artists. In a technical museum, the object is simply to collect specimens, calculated to serve, if not as actual models, at any rate as examples of styles to be imitated: the historical arrangements of them is of secondary importance. Although no doubt the same purpose might be served, and the interest of the museum increased, if they were historically arranged; still it would undoubtedly be proper in a museum instituted for this purpose, that the primary arrangement should be from the standpoint of art. It is not a museum for general educational purposes, as it can never be contemplated that the whole or the majority of the visitors should qualify as manufacturers or artists; or, if it is efficacious for general education, it is only so in the sense of improving the public taste.

Next we have to consider the purposes to be served by such an establishment as the British Museum. The British Museum was, no doubt, in its origin, pretty much what local museums have hitherto been, a collection of miscellaneous antiquities; some small, other of enormous size. The collections of late years have been enlarged and classified in historical grand divisions or geographical areas, and the additions have been made, as time went on, with more regard to scientific arrangement, in proportion to the advance of knowledge. But is has not been collected from the first upon any system, or with a view to any special purpose; certainly not for educational purposes. It has been necessary to obtain specimens as opportunity offered, and to exhibit them in rooms that are ill-adapted for displaying them historically, designed in subordination to architectural considerations, and not with a view to the best means of arranging the specimens. As a large store of antiquities, it is probably the most useful institution in the world for savants, who know what to look for and wish to study them, in order to form their own classifications and deductions. As an educational museum, it is simply bewildering, and although lectures have lately been given upon the collections, such lectures are available only for comparatively few persons, and those not the working classes, who go there to obtain knowledge, by examining the antiquities and forming their own ideas upon what they see. It would be impracticable ever to convert the British Museum into an educational museum. More than half the objects would have to be eliminated, and the apartments altered to suit an educational arrangement. It would spoil the museum for the use of savants. I call such a museum a Museum of Reference, or it might, perhaps, more properly be termed, a Museum of Research.

I hold that the great desideratum of our day is an educational museum, in which the visitors may instruct themselves. For good or for evil, it is not here the place to discuss the question, we have thought proper to place power in the hands of the masses. The masses are ignorant, and knowledge is swamped by ignorance. The relative numbers of the educated and uneducated are enough to ensure this. The knowledge they lack is the knowledge of history. This lays them open to the designs of demagogues and agitators, who strive to make them break with the past, and seek the remedies for existing evils, or the means of future progress, in drastic changes that have not the sanction of experience. It is by a knowledge of history only that such experience can be supplied. It is true that the history of laws, customs and institutions cannot be displayed in museums. You cannot place the successive links of development side by side in such a manner as to appeal to the eye; but the material arts are capable of such an arrangement, and the knowledge acquired in the one branch will be, to some extent, available in the other. The law that Nature makes no jumps, can be taught by the history of mechanical contrivances, in such way as at least to make men cautious how they listen to scatter-brained revolutionary suggestions. The knowledge of the facts of evolution, and of the processes of gradual development, is the one great knowledge that we have to inculcate, whether in natural history or in the arts and institutions of mankind; and this knowledge can be taught by museums, provided they are arranged in such a manner that those who run may read. The working classes have but little time for study; their leisure hours are, and always must be, comparatively brief. Time and clearness are elements of the very first importance in the matter under consideration. The more intelligent portion of the working classes, though they have but little book learning, are extremely quick in appreciating all mechanical matters, more so even than highly educated men, because they are trained up to them; and this is another reason why the importance of the object-lessons that museums are capable of teaching should be well considered.

For an educational museum originals are not necessary. Casts, reproductions, and models are preferable; the proper specimens can be more easily selected; they are infinitely less costly. Such collections are not dependent on the chance of obtaining what is wanted from original explorers. Museums of casts do not compete with the research museums, in which the originals should be stored. Models occupy less room than originals, and can be more easily arranged to exhibit sequence within a limited space.

In an educational museum, specimens should be selected that are useful in displaying sequence. These should be arranged so as to show how one form has led to another. When there is actual evidence of the dates of the objects, of course the arrangement must be for the most part in the order of dates. But when, as in the case of most prehistoric objects and many of the arts of savage nations, the dates cannot be given, then recourse must be had to the sequence of type, and that is what I term 'Typology'. It is not an accepted term, and I am not aware that it has been applied before to the study of sequence of the types of the arts. But it appears to me that a name is wanted for this branch of investigation, which the term 'Typology' supplies.

If it were taken to imply the study of fixed types as characteristic of particular phases of the arts, it would be erroneous. It includes the growth, varieties, and developments of the several types. It supplies the want of dates by showing how certain forms must have preceded or followed others in the order of their development, or in the sequence of their adoption. It may be said, as a rule, that simple forms have preceded complex ones. Within certain limits this must be true, but it is not always the case, for, in many instances, progress consists in eliminating superfluous complexity, and reducing the expenditure of time and labour. We have in this, as in all mundane affairs, to deal with degeneracy and decay, as well as progressive growth: the two have gone on side by side. It is the work of typology to unravel the true thread of events, and place the objects in their proper sequence for the use of students. Typology forms a tree of progress, and distinguishes the leading shoots from the minor branches. The problems of the naturalist and those of the typologist are analogous. The difficulties are the same in both. In some cases the number of missing lines makes it impossible to determine the true succession of forms. In such cases recourse must be had to survivals, as in the case of the majority of savage weapons or forms of art, in which the successive links, being made of wood or perishable materials, have decayed. But a theoretical, and fairly accurate development, may nearly always be traced amongst the arts of savages by object in present use. When a simple form is suited to its environment, or when its use fulfils common purposes that cannot be better served by its successors, or when economy of labour is a desideratum, the simple form survives; as, for example, in the case of the common door-bolt, which is the father of all kinds of complex door locks, and which is still used upon the same doors as the contrivances that have sprung from it; or in the case of the common hand-made pots that are still baked in an ordinary turf fire in the Hebrides, at the same time as the most skilled production of our modern potteries. So in natural history, invertebrate and vertebrate animals and mammalia are all found living side by side in the same localities, although we know that they represent successive stages in the development of species. Typological sequence, or typological continuity, may be said to be established when the true succession of forms have been brought out. This is the object of an educational museum. Not only must the objects be specially selected and arranged for the purpose, but the building must be adapted to the proper display of them. Architectural features, handsome halls and corridors are impediments; at any rate, they are points of secondary importance. In my address to the Anthropological Section of the British Association at Bath in 1888, I suggested a rotunda as the best form for a national educational museum of arts, a plan of which was exhibited. The concentric circles of a circular building adapt themselves, by their size and position for, the exhibition of the expanding varieties of an evolutionary arrangement. In the innermost circle I would place the implements and other relics of the Palaeolithic period, leaving a spot in the actual centre for the relics of tertiary man, when he is discovered. The simple forms of the Palaeolithic period would require no larger space than the smallest circle would be capable of affording. Next in order would come the Neolithic Age, the increased varieties of which would fill a larger circle. In the Bronze Age a still larger circle would be required. In the early Iron Age, the increased number of forms would require an increased area; medieval antiquities would follow, and so on, until the outer circle of all would contain specimens of such modern arts as could be placed in continuity with those of antiquity. Separate angles of the circle might be appropriated to geographical areas, and where civilisations in the same stage of development are allied to one another, they might occupy adjacent angles within the same concentric ring. Models would be largely used to explain the gisement of the relics exhibited. The sections and sub-sections would be divided under the head of Arts, such as Pottery, Glass, Enamels, Architecture, House Furniture, Modes of Navigation, Land Transport, Horse Furniture, Tools, Weapons, Weaving Apparatus and Textiles, Metallurgy, Painting, Writing, Music, Mensuration, Sculpture, Ornamentation, Personal Ornament, Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing apparatus, Trapping, Machinery, Fortification, Modes of Burial, Modes of Punishment, Monuments, Coins, Religious Emblems, Toys, Heating and Lighting, Food, Clothing, Basket-making, Narcotics, Medicine, Domestication of Animals, and so forth. A manufactory of reproductions, casts, and models, would be attached to the institution, in the same manner as that established in connection with the Museum at Mayence, under the direction of Professor Lindenschmit. The museum would be divided into departments, under the control of separate keepers. By such an arrangement, the most uninstructed student would have no occasion to ask the history of any object he might be studying; he would simply have to observe its distance from the centre of the building, and to trace like forms continuously to their origin. Where breaks in the continuity of any art must necessarily occur, references might be posted to show the position of the concentric rings and cases, in which the threads of connection might be taken up again and followed. Such a museum would require constant rearrangement, as knowledge increased, and the cases might, perhaps, be put on wheels to facilitate their readjustment. An iron building with a glass roof would be the best for the purpose, and the less ornamentation it had about it, to divert the eye from the main object of the establishment, the better. Existing buildings, such as the Olympia, might, perhaps, be made use of as a commencement, as it would not be necessary the building should be round, provided the arrangement was concentric. But the Olympia would not be half large enough.

I have been much interested to learn since my address was delivered to the Anthropological Section at Bath, that Professor Flower,[*] who has already done so much in his Natural History Department, since it was transferred to South Kensington, to arrange the collections on an evolutionary plan, has independently thought out the idea of a large rotunda, for exhibiting the development of species and varieties. A letter which I have received from him gives a rough sketch of the kind of museum that he would propose for the purpose; the present building being, in his opinion, quite unsuited for scientific arrangement. I have little doubt, therefore, that eventually this idea of concentric arrangement will be carried out, and that we shall have somewhere in the metropolis two large rotundas - one for natural history, and the other for the arts of life. Professor Flower embodied his views on the arrangement of a natural history museum in his address to the British Association at Newcastle in 1889, in which he expounded very much the same principles for a Natural History Museum that I had advocated for an Arts Museum at the meeting of the previous year at Bath. That views so similar should have suggested themselves independently to workers in two separate departments, affords satisfactorily evidence that they are in harmony with the requirements of the age.

In order to explain more clearly what my method of arrangement is, I have had prepared a number of large diagrams, to show the continuity of several of the series exhibited in the Pitt-Rivers collection at Oxford. Some of these diagrams are very old, and formed part of lectures delivered at the United Services Institution in 1858-69, the Royal Institution in 1875, and elsewhere. Others are of more recent date, and are taken from my provincial museum in Dorsetshire. Most of the diagrams were used in a lecture on my collection that was delivered lately at Oxford, at Salisbury, and other places.

Having now laid before the meeting my views upon the evolution of types, I desire to make a few remarks on the evolution of my own collection now presented to the University of Oxford.

My attention was first drawn to this subject nearly forty years ago, when, in the year 1852, I was engaged as a subaltern officer on the sub-committee of small arms at Woolwich in the experiments which led to the introduction of the rifle-musket into the army. A large number of inventions were submitted to the committee for trial; and I was then led to take notice of the very slight changes of system that were embodied in the different inventions, and also of the fact that many improvements which, not being of a nature to be adopted, fell out of use, and were heard of no more, nevertheless served as suggestions for further improvements which were adopted; and it occurred to me what an interesting thing it would be to have a museum in which all these successive stages of improvement might be placed in the order of the occurrence. I made a collection of arms at that time, which was the foundation of the present museum. Although this collection of arms was not a very good one, as my means of collecting were small, it led to a museum of savage weapons, and ultimately of various other arts, which were exhibited at Bethnal Green and South Kensington for nine years. Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his 'Principles of Sociology', published in 1876, thus speaks of it as he saw it at that time: - 'The collection of implements and weapons arranged by Col. Lane Fox,[1] to show their relationship to common originals of the simplest types, suggests that primitive men are not to be credited with such inventiveness as even their simple appliances appear to indicate. These have arisen by small modifications, and the selection of such modifications has led unobtrusively to various kinds of appliances without any distinct devising of them. The portion of the museum relating to arms was described in an illustrated catalogue raisonné, which was in fact a treatise on the development of arms; this went through two editions at South Kensington, commencing in 1877. The collection afterwards grew to such size that I was anxious to see it housed in some public building, where it would be developed in other hands on the same lines, and I ultimately presented it to the University of Oxford. In doing this I made only one proviso of any consequence, which is contained in the deed of gift, viz., 'that the general mode of arrangement should be maintained, and that no changes should be made in the details hereafter, except such as should be necessitated by the advance of knowledge, and should not effect the general principles originated by me.' This took place in 1884. During the seven years that have elapsed since, the museum has been re-arranged in the order in which it was exhibited at South Kensington, so that, in the main, the order of the several series is exactly the same. Some new links have been added to the old series, and some new series have been introduced. This has been done in the first place by Professor Moseley, whose death has been so great a loss to science, and afterwards by Dr. Tylor and Mr. H. Balfour, and has been carried out to my entire satisfaction in every respect, except perhaps the great length of time that it has taken to re-arrange, which, I am informed, was unavoidable, as a building had to be erected for it, for which the University very liberally voted £10,000.

But these are not times in which anything can afford to remain buried seven years, and I have had some difficulty in persuading people, now that the collection is resuscitated, that it is the same Lazarus that was alive before. In the meantime, however, I have formed another museum, which, although it is a provincial one, is in some respects better than the first, because such series as it contains are more fully represented. The subject of provincial museums have been lately much discussed in the newspapers. I have often observed that a little knowledge of the subject is necessary to create an interest. I have often noticed that visitors to our larger museums will wander listlessly through the rooms until they come upon something they understand a little about. Then they open their eyes and prick up their ears. It is interesting to them to compare the products of other countries and people, in those particular branches of industry that they are familiar with. A local museum should, therefore, contain a good historical series of the prevailing manufacturers or industry of the locality. Acting on this principle, it appeared to me that in a rural district, sparsely inhabited, with scattered agricultural villages, and ten miles from every town and railway station, the chief feature of the collection should be agriculture and peasant handicraft. [2] I cannot convey my views on provincial museums better than be describing my own museum, because it has been collected from the first on a definite system, and has undoubtedly been a great success.

No. 1 Room, 20 feet by 13, contains pottery, costumes, personal ornaments, now in use by peasants in Germany, France, Spain, and other nations. Some of these are of archaic design, and are probably survivals. The 2nd room, 19 feet by 14, contains carvings by Brittany peasants, chiefly of the 17th century; French pottery in present use, and village implements of various kinds. The 3rd room, 18 feet by 13, is devoted to a series of tools, household utensils, cooking appliances, &c., of different periods. The 4th Room, 24 feet by 14, has an additional series of country tools, and here commences a general series, illustrating the history of pottery, which is continued in Rooms 5 and 6, and includes a sufficient number of specimens of each division to represent their kind, viz:- Ancient British, Silesian bronze age, Etruscan, Egyptian, Swiss Lakes, Cyprian, Greek, Roman, Saxon, Norman, Mediaeval, English toft ware, English salt-glaze, Staffordshire, and other Old English wares, Scotch pottery, German, French, Swiss, Spanish, Italian, Persian, Anatolian, Japanese, Chinese, Moorish, Peruvian, Mexican. Then follows similar specimens of glass and enamels from different countries. Another general series, not yet arranged, will be devoted to sculpture and modelling. In the 5th and 6th Rooms are models of excavations made by me in the locality, the relics from which are arranged in the adjoining cases. These are available for archaeologists who may visit the district to see what it contains of local interest. Other models of ancient monuments, 95 in all, have been made under my supervision by my archaeological staff, three to four in number, who are constantly engaged upon the work. These models certainly form the chief feature of the museum, and they are unique. The 6th room, 62 feet by 19 1/2, contains also a general series of of implements of the palaeolithic, neolithic, and bronze periods, iron age, Roman, Egyptian, and mediaeval periods. The 7th room, 81 feet by 24, is only in process of building. The 8th Room, 85 feet by 18, is devoted to agricultural implements and appliances, and contains spades and agricultural tools of all kinds, showing the survival of the Roman wooden iron-edged spade in several parts of Europe; querns and grain rubbers, some of which are in present use; a Norse mill, showing the earliest application of water power to the quern; grinding and winnowing machines; some models of crofters' cottages; a series of models showing the varieties of ploughs in present use in different countries; country carts, explained in the same manner by means of models; a series showing the development of locks and keys; a series of crates carried by country women of different countries on the shoulder, and collected expressly to show the women of my district how little they resemble the beasts of burden they might have been if they had been bred elsewhere. All these things are well ticketed, but an explanatory catalogue has yet to follow.

It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that the agricultural labourer can be reached by museums alone. Hodge, though better off than he has ever been before, is in a lower condition, morally and mentally, than at any previous period. He is too incessantly plied with pernicious doctrines to have a soul for anything above party politics. It is to the larger and smaller tradesmen in the towns and villages that such things as museums appeal, and, moreover, they must be supplemented by other inducements to make them attractive. Within a short distance of the museum, I have formed a recreation ground, called the Larmer Grounds, where my private band plays every Sunday in the summer months from three to five. This ground was attended during the last year by 16,839 persons from the neighbouring towns and villages. Not far off is an old house, formerly a hunting box of King John, which is open to the public, and were any amount of bread and butter, tea and buns can be obtained at slight cost. This during the last year drew 4,346 persons. The visitors to the museum in the same year amounted to 7,000 persons, [3] and the numbers of all three places have been increasing year after year. The people come from a radius of 20 miles round, and it has been very successful, in so far as the number of visitors is concerned. I have built a small Museum Hotel, at which visitors to the locality can put up, and which has first-class accommodation. Another, called King John's Hotel, has sprung up in an adjoining village. It has become the headquarters of a local bicycle club, which is named after the place. Bicycling is an institution that must not be overlooked by any project for the improvement of the masses. The enormous distances bicyclists can go by road, especially on a Sunday, has rendered the populations of country districts locomotive to an extent that has never been known before. Fifty or sixty bicycles are frequently seen at my Sunday meetings at the Larmer grounds, which average between 600 to a 1,000 people; and the church on Sundays is crowded.

It is a mistake to suppose that the country towns are the best localities for such museums. Townspeople have other things to do than to visit the museum, which they can see every day, and which soon begins to pall upon them. The visitors from the country to the towns generally go there for business purposes, and have no time for museums. In the town of Dorchester, in which there is a museum equal in size to mine, and scarcely less attractive, I found that the attendance was only 2,826 during the year 1888, as against 7000 at my museum in 1891. The outing is in itself an important accessory in a visit to a country museum. A pretty country, a pleasant drive in their country carts, an attractive pleasure ground, a good band, a lastly a museum, are the means which I have found successful, and which I am justified in recommending to those who wish to draw the people out of the towns into the country. But I do not wish to infer that I think any permanent good can be done in this way at the present time. Against agricultural depression, caused by foreign competition, it is impossible to contend. Burdens may be shifted from one shoulder to another by legislative enactments; but against the evil itself there is no redress on the political horizons, and, as long as that is the case, it is uphill work to fight against it, even though a landowner may spend his whole income in the endeavour to do so. The land, as a whole, will not produce one grain of wheat more, probably much less, by subdividing the ownership—substituting a large pauper population for a small and comparatively wealthy one, and driving capital away from it. The very reverse is the process that should be encouraged.

Public attention has of late been drawn a good deal to the advantages of museums in the Press. I am not myself so hopeful of the result as would induce me to devote the time and attention to the subject that I have done, had it not been to me, for many years, a hobby and an amusement. If no more good came of it than to create other interests, which would draw men's minds away from politics, that greatest of all curses in a country district, good would be done. If only a more scientific knowledge of the arts of life, and of the laws of nature affecting the development of those industries by which the working classes gain their living, the results would be beneficial. I have already hinted my belief that, by analogy, museums might be made the means of inculcating sounder views on social questions, and that they afford the only opening available to people who have so little leisure time for study.

Whether or not my more ambitious scheme for a Typological Museum fails to be realised, at any rate my Provincial Museum may be claimed to be a success, judging by the constantly increasing numbers that are found to visit it, and that in a district which, at first sight, appeared very unpromising.

At the conclusion of the paper, General Pitt-Rivers exhibited and described a number of diagrams illustrative of his collection. The first was ones showing the evolution of the modern rifle and bullet through all its stages, some of which had entirely dropped out of public knowledge; and in connection with this, he suggested the desirability of a similar series being arranged, before it was too late, of various electrical appliances, many links in which might easily be forgotten. Next came a large diagram showing the arms of savages, which in the beginning were constructed of mere natural sticks and portions of branches, thus giving the form to the weapon which was sometimes imitated afterwards, when the art became more advanced. Flint implements came next, and arrow heads, the leaf-shaped being the earliest. Bronze and iron weapons were not always copied from wooden ones, though a similarity in shape might sometimes be traced; this was illustrated by a series of sword-forms. When metallurgy was first introduced, only small pieces could be cast, and therefore short daggers were the earliest forms of this class of weapon; the copper implements were of the simplest form, and the later iron ones more complex. One particular shape of sword was found over a large portion of Asia, being very similar to a Greek sword figured on vases, and it was probably derived from the Greeks. Another series of diagrams was devoted to the development of ornament, and showed the changes which the loop, coil, and fret pattern had gone through; and another showed the cross, which, as a Christian symbol, was plainly derived from the Greek letters XP conjointly, which led naturally to the Celtic cross, still largely found in Scotland, whilst the Latin cross was a later form. The degradation of silver coins, from the stater of Philip of Macedon, was also shown. Another diagram illustrated how changes occurred through mistakes in copying, and were continued and increased until ultimately the original pattern was hardly recognisable. This was especially the case in representations of the human countenance, and had, in the opinion of Gen. Pitt-Rivers, led Dr. Schliemann into an erroneous belief that the figures found on certain vessels at Hissarlik were Trojan remains, as bearing the image of the owl-faced goddess, Glaukopsis Athene, whereas, in truth, there was nothing of the owl-face about them, but merely a degraded and conventionalized type of the human face.


The Chairman said a great deal has been heard lately about the flow of people from the country into the towns all over England, but this paper showed how, by proper means, the population of the towns might be attracted to the country. He agreed with General Pitt-Rivers that the main object of the British Museum was to serve as a storehouse for the researches of savants, but in addition to that, there was room for some educational work to be done in some of the public galleries, and, under the direction of Professor Flower, something to be done in that direction in the Natural History Museum. He thought there would be some difficulty in introducing the word typology, because in natural history the word type had a particular meaning, and the type of a particular class of objects was one which exhibited the special peculiarities of the whole group; it would be rather confusing to use the word in a new sense.

Dr E.B. TYLOR, F.R.S., said he could not add anything to the excellent account General Pitt-Rivers had given of his system of arranging museums, but he felt that the greatest of these museums, which would mark itself in no insignificant way on the present generation, ought not to be described without someone from the University of Oxford being present to bear testimony to the importance of the educational system it represented. Before this Oxford Museum was established, it was usual to look upon a museum as an assemblage of curiosities, which had to be pointed out and explained to the visitor with great care; otherwise even the most illustrative cases would make but very little impression on the ordinary untrained spectator. But the Pitt-Rivers Museum affected the mind of the intelligent stranger quite differently. There was no trouble to explain the system upon which it was worked. There might be some little trouble, even with the aid of good illustrations when, as on the present occasion, the actual specimens were not on view; but, when they were properly arranged, the slightest hint was sufficient to convey to the intelligent mind what they were there for; and then they told their own story. Very recently, there had been a good example of how it was educating the world at large. It often happened that a series might be made purely theoretical, by putting in their order a number of specimens which referred to one another more or less distinctively, thus showing where the curve of development had probably passed; but yet important links were often wanting, and the visitor went away possessed with the desire to find those links and present them to the Museum. Only a few weeks ago, they thus acquired a much desired link in the history of stringed instruments. The late Mr. Carl Engel suggested that the strung bow must have been the origin of the whole series of stringed instruments, whether pianoforte, violin, or guitar. This view was proved to be correct when the instruments were arranged in a series, beginning with a strung bow. The difficulty, however, was to get the starting point - an authentic bow capable of being used both for hunting and twanging. One people, who were described as using the bow for this double purpose, were the Damaras; it was said that the hunter shot game with his bow during the day, and when he came home, sat by the fire and amused himself by twanging the string. Three or four weeks ago Miss Lloyd, who had spent some time in South Africa, sent them one of these bows, and it now stood at the head of the series of stringed instruments. He believed the idea of General Pitt-Rivers was destined to bear good fruit on the actual development of mankind. It had dissipate some notions as to the wonderful originality of early inventions, which, when seen in connection with what had gone before, were found to be the natural product of a mind perhaps a little in advance of its fellows, but still in the main not so far removed from them. Although all country and county museums could not be expected to become museums of development, yet it was possible for them to treat local arts and other matters in that way. A country museum would very well show, in connected series, the arts and manufactures on which the people in the neighbourhood depended for their livelihood, and this could hardly fail to be useful in promoting further progress.

Sir GEORGE BOWEN, G.C.M.G., said he had been much interested in seeing so well represented many of the arms of the aborigines of Australia, with which he became familiar during his twenty years’ governorship of different colonies in that quarter of the globe.

Mr. F. W. RUDLER said he had the privilege, many years ago, of becoming acquainted with the Pitt-Rivers collection, but he had never heard it called a Typological Museum before. Still, some distinctive title was required, the principle followed being so different from that usually adopted. Anyone who inspected it would be struck, not so much by its variety and magnitude, as by the obvious fact that all the specimens had been collected for a definite purpose, and arranged in a unique manner. In order to illustrate the evolution of different types most effectively, a linear series was, no doubt, undesirable, and one could not but look with admiration on the project for an Anthropological Rotunda, but still, even such a scheme might, he thought, be open to improvement. Looking at the central circle representing the palaeolithic period, it occurred to him that in walking round it, being a closed curve, one would never make any progress. You passed by a jump to the next circle, representing the neolithic, and though no doubt a great gap appeared between the two periods, that only arose from our ignorance. It seemed to him that a continuous spiral would, in some degree, be a better arrangement than a series of circles. If the Albert-hall could be cleared out, a good start might be made there. The question the General had raised was only part of very large subject now under discussion by the Museums Association, a body which was moving somewhat on the lines of the Library Association, and which had already done good work. If General Pitt-Rivers would favour that association with his views on museums, he was sure he would receive the greatest possible sympathy, for all the curators who constituted the association were strongly imbued with the belief that a museum was one of the most important educational engines which could be developed.

THE CHAIRMAN then proposed a hearty vote of thanks to General Pitt-Rivers, which was carried unanimously.

GENERAL PITT-RIVERS, in reply, said that, in tracing any particular series, there was always a danger of letting the imagination run riot to a certain extent; but where the same system became developed, as Dr. Tylor had shown it was now doing at Oxford, there was some guarantee that the principles established were correct. With regard to Mr. Rudler’s remarks, he could only say that he had already suggested that the cases might be put on wheels, so that the arrangement might be altered from time to time as required. He was quite aware of the difficulty of introducing the word typology with regard to natural history, but he had never proposed to apply it to such specimens—only to continuity in the sequence of the arts of life.

Pitt-Rivers' Notes

[1] In 1880 I changed my name to Pitt-Rivers, in accordance with the will of the second Lord Rivers.

[2] The population of Farnham and the neighbouring parishes is:- Farnham, 301; Handley, 868; Tollard Royal, 247.

[3] This is the ordinary number of visitors, and does not include lectures or other meetings.

Transcribers Notes:

* William Henry Flower (1831-1899) Director of the British Museum (Natural History), South Kensington from 1884-1898.

Transcribed by AP for Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project

prm logo