Collecting the nation: Scottish history, patriotism and antiquarianism after Scott (1832-91)

Holder, Julie (2021) Collecting the nation: Scottish history, patriotism and antiquarianism after Scott (1832-91). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis critically examines the interface between the expansion of the Scottish historical collection in the museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (hereafter SoAS) and the development of modern Scottish historiographical practices in the period 1832 to 1891. The sixty-year period from 1832 to 1891 was key to the development of the SoAS during which ownership of its collection of archaeological and historical artefacts was transferred to the nation, and when the disciplines of history and archaeology placed greater authority on primary source analysis using original texts and material culture. This thesis is an interdisciplinary study analysing the relationships between collecting, representing and writing about the Scottish past to assess how these practices influenced (and were influenced by) conceptions of Scottish, British and European histories. It focuses on the development of the SoAS, but the activities of the Society are contextualised through comparisons with the British Museum, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Royal Irish Academy, as well as through referring to wider British and European antiquarian and museological practices. This thesis combines quantitative and qualitative analyses of collection, exhibition and publication data held within the archive of National Museums Scotland to provide a nuanced discussion of the ways in which the professionalization of history, archaeology and curatorship were shaped by antiquarian/archaeological ideas and practices. Key to the antiquarian approach was the importance of antiquities as primary source material (manuscripts, objects and monuments) and the new forms of knowledge that could be extracted from material culture for widening Scotland’s national narratives by incorporating social, cultural and material-culture history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: This was a collaborative doctoral project with National Museums Scotland.
Keywords: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, material culture, antiquarianism, Scottish history, museums, curatorship, archaeology, nineteenth century, Scottish historiography, history of collecting, exhibition practices.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Funder's Name: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Macdonald, Dr. Catriona M.M. and Allan, Dr. Stuart and Broun, Professor Dauvit and Hunter, Dr. Fraser
Date of Award: 2021
Embargo Date: 1 December 2023
Depositing User: Dr Julie Holder
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82236
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2021 18:25
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2021 18:25
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82236

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