Understanding the Victorians through Museum Displays

Jack Gann, Lauren Padgett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The field of Victorian Studies has developed in recent years to encompass narratives of the Victorians across a variety of media and cultural forms. Little has been written, however, on the different Victorianisms at play in museums and heritage sites, many of them Victorian in both origin and content. Taking their cue from the literature and theory of Museum Studies and drawing on a professional and academic background in museums, the authors of this paper provide an overview of the present state of museum displays on the Victorians. It is a situation driven by new commercial pressures, funding cuts and blockbuster exhibitions, occurring at the same time as a push for greater access and more diverse narratives. To outline these developments in greater detail, this paper takes examples from a series of case study sites of Victorian-themed museum displays in Yorkshire. It demonstrates that there has been a growing emphasis on narratives that depart from traditional museum presentations of Victorian elites, particularly with regard to class and gender. This can be seen as a positive step in terms of public engagement with diverse Victorianisms, but there remains work to be done.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)170-186
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018


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