“Specimens Distributed”: The Circulation of Objects from Kew’s Economic Botany Collection

Caroline Cornish, Beth Wilkey

Research output: Working paper


Working Paper 2 considers the flow of objects outwards, drawing on the
remarkably rich sources held at Kew and linking to sources elsewhere (see
Bibliography). A number of themes emerge from our analysis. Firstly, there are
the various modes in which objects circulated, including partage of those
collections acquired on scientific expeditions; large-scale clearances undertaken
at Kew on the closure of temporary exhibitions and of other museums, as was
the case with the India Museum distribution of 1879–81; periodic disbursements
of excess museum stocks following cycles of accumulation, as occurred in 1876;
or as part of an ongoing commitment to British regional museums and schools.
Secondly we focus on the role of negotiated exchanges in the circulation of
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages83
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Biocultural
  • Museums
  • Collections
  • Duplicate
  • Kew Gardens
  • British Museum
  • equivalencing

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