The Other Within: Analysing the English collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Project Description:

The Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford is one of the foremost ethnographic museums in the world. It is known for having many thousands of objects on display from all corners of the globe, and from all periods of history. However, it does have surprisingly large collections of artefacts, photographs and manuscripts from England.

The team analysed the English collections of the museum, together with the history and motives of the people making the collections. This threw new light on what was being collected and on a variety of issues including the concept of 'survivals' within English culture. The overall aim of the project was to use a major museum collection, with its connected documentation, to throw light on the modern construction of Englishness. The changing structure of the English ethnographic and archaeological collections were analysed. One of the foci was on particular counties, especially Oxfordshire and Somerset. Archival resources were used to provide rich contextual information on the artefacts and the people who collected them.

One of the major outcomes of the project is this innovative website.