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Article: The Evolution of a National Collection

Special Papers in Palaeontology - No. 22 - Cover Image
Publication: Special Papers in Palaeontology
Number: 22
Thematic Volume: Curration of Palaeontology Collections
Edited By: M. G. Bassett
Publication Date: 1979
Page(s): 49 56
Authored By: H. W. Ball
Addition Information

How to Cite

HALL, H.W. 1979. The Evolution of a National Collection. IN BASSET, M.G. (ed.) Curration of Palaeontology Collections. Special Papers in Palaeontology22, 17-26.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


The history of the British Museum (Natural History) can be summarized as two hundred years of relative stability and twenty years of profound change. During this time, the growth of its collections, its raison d'Ctre, has been shaped by many interacting and changing forces; while the collections have, in turn, influenced the other activities of the Museum. This is exemplified by the history of the palaeontological collections, which is outlined and considered in the context of contemporary scientific and social climates. An account is also given of the diverse services provided by the (now) Department of Palaeontology, and why, despite the title of this paper, the Museum is now international rather than national in its outlook.

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