S&SWM PR papers L764


L764  copyright S&SWM PR papers

NB this is a typed copy letter, found within the letter from Professor Flower (British Museum, Natural History Dept) which prompted it. In his letter Flower thanks Pitt-Rivers for a copy of his address on Typological Museums which was to be given to the Society of the Arts and remarks 'It is very curious that your plan for a round archaeological museum is exactly similar to one which I have had for some time in view but never published for a natural history museum which should combine extinct with living forms in an orderly and instructive manner. The sketch opposite will give a rough idea although I have worked out the plan in greater detail ...' (see scan of the page of the letter here for Flower's sketch).

Rushmore, Salibury | November 9th, 1891

Dear Professor Flower,

I did not know that you had special views with respect to a circular building, though I can quite understand that the same idea would independently suggest itself to any one studying the arrangement of a Museum for archaeological or natural history purposes, on the principles of displaying evolution. The concentric circles adapt themselves both by their size and position, for the exhibition of the expanding varieties of an evolutionary arrangement. When I first mooted the subject, in my address to the Anthropological Section at the Bath meeting, Evans, who I think approved of the idea, said he thought it was remote from realisation, and so no bout it may be, but I feel as certain as possible that, eventually, it will be done. Your present building will be used for something else [insert in handwriting] or it might be converted into a Nat'l History Reference Museum [end insert] and we shall have two large Rotunda as Educational Museums, one for Natural History, and one for the Arts. For the Arts to which of course I confine my suggestions, the Museum should consist chiefly, in not entirely, of reproductions and models; so as not to interfere with the Reference Museums, and also because, by using reproductions, a better selection can be made of those forms which display evolution. It would not of course be attempted to include everything, otherwise something like the World's size, would be required to exhibit the whole history of the World's products, but the series would be confined to those branches, in which continuity could be best displayed; and I am also much impressed with the belief, that models explaining the gisement of the objects exhibited, will take a large place in future exhibitions.

In my small way here, I have carried out this plan, in my new little Museum in the village of Farnham, where I have now about 40 models showing the position of things discovered, the relics being exhibited in the cases adjoining. I hope some day to show you this little Museum, to which I have lately added a new room; though of course, on so small a scale, it would be useless to attempt a circular arrangement. Twice the sum that Mr Blundell Maple gave a few days ago for a horse, £40,000, that might die tomorrow, would be enough to build a suitable structure in iron and glass, that might be built of stone afterwards.

I wish it might be brought about.

[in handwriting] Yours very truly
A. Pitt Rivers



The Queen's Hotel, Eastbourne | Dec. 15th 1891

My dear General

I exceedingly regret my in... [letter torn off, but obviously inability] to hear you tomorrow, as I should [piece torn off] only have been greatly interested in the paper, but also glad to have had the opportunity of expressing my admiration for the reforms you have been the means of accomplishing in Museum arrangement.

Of course, I do not mean that all Museums should be arranged on the plan adopted by you ... [several words illegible]. For some collections a systematic and for others a geographical basis may have as great or even greater merit, but the important point & you have always advocated and carried out is that the exhibited portion of a collection should be so arranged and displayed as to convey instruction to, and enlighten the minds of those who come to look at it, which certainly [section missing] not be said of the large majority [section missing] Museums in former times.

I trust that I shall soon be able to go on with my work again, but I have been ordered some weeks of complete rest and change, being very much pulled down by a succession of boils and carbuncles, which have been going on for nearly four months, quite disabling me from all active exertion

Believe me
yours very truly
W.H. Flower

Transcribed by AP for Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project

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