Alice Haigh University of Leeds
Mind, Body and Business:
Elevating the masses by means of
the Bethnal Green Museum
11th February 2014
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Simon Building Room 2.57
‘Mind, Body and Business. Elevating the masses by means of the Bethnal Green Museum’
The exhibits displayed in the Bethnal Green Museum, before Roy Strong established it as the Museum of Childhood in the 1970s, have been described as miscellaneous collections intended to bring some of the national heritage to the disadvantaged population of the East End of London. Some critics have gone further; implying that the museum was merely used to house a series of displays that were no longer required at the South Kensington Museum. By examining the first exhibitions staged in the museum through an analysis of their guidebooks and inventories, this paper shall argue that the museum was part of a different project and that there was, in fact, a cogent unity to these early exhibitions.