Despite the fact that Ruskin was possibly the 19th century’s chief advocate for museums in Britain, his work with these public cultural institutions remains understudied. ‘Including ‘Steelopolis’’ first briefly examines the impact of museums on Ruskin’s development by focusing upon the ways in which collecting was an intellectual activity for him. A short examination of Ruskin’s historical thought reveals that the habit of collecting was crucial for his ability to interpret the past. These aspects of Ruskin’s thought and outlook were critical to his efforts to develop a museum in Sheffield. Ruskin used his personal collections to create St. George’s Museum, which was from the outset intended to be an inclusive museum. The main purpose of St. George’s Museum was to provide workers with access to beauty and culture (helping to preserve the past was another aim) by creating an institution where they could study significant subjects. Ruskin’s inclusive museum played an important role in educating workers in Sheffield. Finally, exploring the history of St. George’s Museum as an inclusive museum illustrates that the world of the Victorian museum was a more complicated one than is often imagined.
|Keywords:||Ruskin, Victorians, Sheffield, Collections, Museums, Workers, Class, History|
Head of Department, Department of International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
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