Scheme for a Museum

January 25, 1868
To The Commissioners of the Manchester Natural History Society.

Objects.– 1. The public exhibition of a collection of specimens large enough to illustrate all the most important truths of Natural History, but not so extensive as to weary and confuse ordinary visitors.

2. The accessibility of this collection to the public.

3. The conservation of all specimens not necessary for the purpose defined in (1) in a place apart.

4. The accessibility of all objects contained in the museum to the curator and to scientific students, without interference with the public or by the public.

5. Thorough exclusion of dust and dirt from the specimens.

6. A provision of space for workrooms, and, if need be, lecture-rooms.

Principle.–A big hall (350 X 40 X 30) with narrower halls on either side, lighted from the top. The central hall for the public, the others for the curators, etc. The walls, of arches upon piers about 15 ft. high, bearing on girders a gallery 5 ft. wide in the public room, and 3 ft. 6 in in the curators'.

The cases should be larger below, 5 ft. deep, and smaller above, 2 ft. deep, with glass fronts to the public, and doors on the curators' side.

For very large specimens–e.g. a whale–the case could expand into the curators' part without encroaching on the public part, so as to keep the line of windows regular.

Specimens of the Vertebrata, illustrations of Physical Geography and Stratigraphical Geology, should be placed below.

The Invertebrata, Botanical and Mineralogical specimens in the galleries.

The partition to be continued above the galleries to the roof, thus excluding all the dust raised by the public.

Space for students should be provided in the curators' rooms.

Storage should be ample.

A museum of this size gives twice as much area for exhibition purposes as that offered by all the cases in the present museum.


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University