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Travelling objects: the Wellcome collection in Los Angeles, London and beyond

[journal article]

Hill, Jude

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Abstract This paper presents some of my research into the historical medical collection acquired by and on behalf of the pharmaceutical magnate Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936). Specific aims of the paper are to consider how historico-geographical factors and the agency of objects influence the collection and re-collection of material cultures across time and space. I trace the movement of 30 000 objects in 1965-66 from the original Wellcome Collection in London to what is now known as the Fowler Museum at UCLA. I pay particular attention to the ‘Wellcome Year’ celebrations that marked the arrival of the ‘great gift’ in California, and explore the networks through which the travelling objects moved. From these starting points, and positing an active interpretation of material forms, the article demonstrates how people-object-place relations and shifting systems of value shape the ongoing history and geography of collections within and between certain places. I also explore how sites can be changed as a result of collections' geographies.
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 340-366
Journal Cultural Geographies, 13 (2006) 3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)