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Access to Museum Culture: the British Museum from 1753 to by Derek Cash

By Derek Cash

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M. on some preceding day. He put the names in a register and gave it to the Principal Librarian every night, or an Under-Librarian 38 Hudson, A Social History of Museums, p. 25-26. 39 Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, p. 22-23. 40 Ward, Papers Relating to the British Museum, Add. MS 6179, fol. 59. 48 49 in his absence, to determine if they were proper for admittance. 41 The new rule made it even harder to gain entrance, for persons went under a character check and had to make two trips to receive a ticket.

63-65. 49Ibid. 29 In the following year (1756) or shortly thereafter, Gowin Knight, the Museum's first director, or Principal Librarian, as the trustees referred to the office, wrote a composition of the rules. As the officers did not establish policy, he probably took the rules from dictation at a trustees meeting. It bore a resemblance to the report from the previous year and began with the sentence, "Tho the principal Intention in founding the British Museum is for the Use of learned & studious men, as well natives as foreigners.

MS 6179, fol. 8. , fol. 61-62. 37 Committee Minutes 4 (3 February 1764): 906-07. 38 In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Jürgen Habermas provided another sociological interpretation of the public. When the authorities addressed their promulgations to the public (all subjects), they usually did not reach the ‘common man’, but at best to the ‘educated classes’, whom Habermas identified as the ‘bourgeois’. The ‘bourgeois’ were a reading public who occupied a central position within the public between the authorities and the common man.

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