Including the famous ‘Tipu’s Tiger’ from the East India Company’s museum, now at the V&A. At a missionary meeting in 1855, the Revd William Gill, visiting from the Pacific, emphasized the point by noting that the young Rarotongan who was with him had not seen an idol before his visit to the Missionary Museum, where he encountered a Rarotongan ‘staff god’ at the centre of things.78, Though there may have been an increasing awareness in the 1850s that the ‘idols’ in the museum’s collection were no longer representative of life in the Pacific, this does not seem to have prevented ‘idols’ in general from becoming an even more explicit focus of the museum at the end of that decade. The History of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, Volume 1 Richard Lovett Full view - 1899. While the larger and more prominent objects may not have left the museum, items were regularly sent on loan for use in missionary meetings of various kinds – a notice in 1846 requests the return of items that had been borrowed from the museum.75 Cuming’s letter of 1839 suggests the decay of some items, perhaps particularly natural history specimens, and this may account for why certain items were removed from display. from 1796 to 1923 Added title page title: Register of missionaries, deputations, etc. ‘Missionary Museum’, Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle (May 1820), p. 289. An image of the museum from 1843 shows these two central attractions alongside one another, with a zebra, crocodile and a number of antelope in the background (Fig. At the same time, becoming part of the lms museum collection in London did not preclude the continued circulation of the objects themselves. ‘Museum of the London Missionary Society’, Lady’s Newspaper 329 (16 April 1853), p. 237. It is significant that the final page includes a bequest form, enabling museum visitors to leave a legacy to the society. has recently been rearranged in a most careful and intelligent manner by a son of the late Reverend John Williams, who was so barbarously murdered . 6). Nevertheless, people judged her without doubting or questioning her husband. 61–87. III. Bloomsbury: London. (note 39), p. 365. The missionaries who brought the Gospel to Samoa in the 1830’s, spearheaded by John Williams were members of the London Missionary Society. A third image of the interior of the museum appeared in the Lady’s Newspaper of 1853 (Fig. Meanwhile, the previously prominent specimens of natural history, including Campbell’s giraffe, are no longer in evidence. Plan and constitution of the London Missionary Society, established in 1795. It later became known as the London Missionary Society and was supported largely by the Congregational Church, especially after the formation of similar societies, such as the Methodist Missionary Society, diverted funds and manpower away from the LMS. The resulting thesis is: C. Wingfield, ‘The Moving Objects of the London Missionary Society: An Experiment in Symmetrical Anthropology’ (University of Birmingham, 2012). W. Gill, ‘Fifty-first anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society’, Christian Observer (May 1855), p. 554. Nevertheless, the passage of time seems to have made it increasingly hard to escape the sense that a significant role for the museum was to document the society’s history. 1795-1895.' the 4th. (note 13), p. 405. 68–9. 24–7. cit. 236–7. Given the suggestion that these could prove the capacity to receive the Christian message of ‘even the most uncivilized on mankind’, it is perhaps unsurprising that the majority of these come from Africa, the Pacific and the Americas.58 ‘Idols’ on the other hand predominantly came from the Pacific, India and China. Nevertheless, the achievements of the lms were also discussed in relation to the ‘large and handsomely built’ churches, as well as the books of the Bible that had been translated and printed. FOURTH EDITION. In 1822, John Philip was appointed superintendent of the London Missionary Society stations in South Africa where he fought for the rights of the indigenous people. J. Cobbing, ‘The Mfecane as alibi: thoughts on Dithakong and Mbolompo’, Journal of African History 29 (1988), pp. Reverse: Four scenes: 1) Burning to death of four Christians in Madagascar 2) A hanging, probably of John Smith in British Guiana in 1824. Shanghai: L. M. Press, 1863. Though the museum had been open for only twelve years when the earliest surviving copy of the catalogue was printed, its collection had already begun to bear the imprint, not only of the specific histories of lms work in their different fields, but also of the rhetorical effects by which this work was made to appeal to supporters in Britain. Alongside this announcement an appeal was printed: Ladies or gentlemen, possessed of any curious articles suited to this collection, and disposed to part with them, will greatly oblige the Society by presenting them to the Directors to enrich their Museum. In many ways, Altick’s characterization of the lms museum as a Christian trophy case is extremely apt. Ditto o. white – The Miscellaneous Articles, and Natural History. However, the museum also contained material from Africa, China, India, Madagascar and the Americas. Artist: William Ellis (British, 1794-1872). The museum was dominated, at least numerically, by what the ‘advertisement’ referred to as ‘efforts of natural genius’. Given the wide reach of the lms, at least in the mid-nineteenth century, it appears that the objects that were assembled at the lms museum became the basis on which a wide swath of the British public began to imagine other parts of the world. . soas, op. illustrated with maps and sketches. John W. De Gruchy. London Missionary Society. And who that has a mite to bestow would grudge to give it for a purpose so noble.29, It is possible that a significant increase in missionary donations during the first decade in which the lms museum was open may have been connected with the circulation of these items in Europe, both physically and as two-dimensional images.30. (note 71), p. 221. . Reports of the hospital.55 [1861] First report of the London Missionary Society's Chinese Hospital at Peking. The global collections of the London Missionary Society museum (1814–1910), Journal of the History of Collections, Volume 29, Issue 1, 1 March 2017, Pages 109–128, https://doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhw002. 9), numbers of natural history specimens increased by only a relatively small amount; indeed, they had been overtaken in numerical terms by the items classed as ‘idols and objects of superstitious regard’. The Missionary Society was renamed the London Missionary Society in 1818. (note 96), p. 146, 8 January 1891. not only of utter confusion and Chaos, but in a state of ruin and decay’. See ‘The London Missionary Museum’, op. This saw objects in the museum increasingly referred to as ‘relics’, with their connection to the history of the society and its missionaries emphasized. British Museum, inv. The British Museum holds a number of artefacts sent to London by Moffat, acquired from the London Missionary Society museum (Wingfield 2018), but, sadly, no leather trousers or leopard skin waistcoats. Ballantyne’s book was drawn from accounts of missionary’s … 17 (1822), pp. 26: Chiefly Relating to the Mission of the London Missionary Society; From January to December, 1863 by London Missionary Society 0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — 2 editions 219–21; (December 1847), pp. Altick’s analogy becomes even more interesting when one thinks about the institutional function of a trophy case. The depiction of objects from the museum in missionary publications alongside accounts of glorious victories is paralleled in the way in which certain sporting trophies become ubiquitous through the widespread circulation of imagery depicting them. . The museum of the London Missionary Society. cit. J. Campbell, Travels in South Africa: Undertaken at the Request of the Missionary Society (London, 1815); J. Campbell, Travels in South Africa, Undertaken at the Request of the London Missionary Society: being a Narrative of a second Journey in the Interior of that Country (London, 1822). The first mission of the London Missionary Society was to the South Pacific or South Seas in 1796. Download this stock image: The Museum of the London Missionary Society: 19th century black and white illustration; From The London Illustrated News - BY1JH3 from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. II. R. Lovett, The History of the London Missionary Society 1795–1895 (London, 1899), p. 90. G. Gogerly, ‘East Indies. not mean that his origin is necessarily black. The dispatch of objects to the lms museum enabled them to become the prototypes for two-dimensional representations, and circulated globally as printed images. ‘Children’s centenary demonstration at the Crystal Palace’, Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle (September 1895), pp. ‘Poetry: On viewing the relinquished Idols of Otaheite in the Missionary Museum’, Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle (February 1821), p. 92: An American Clergyman of the Synod of Philadelphia, ‘Travels in Europe for Health in 1820’, Christian Advocate 5 (February 1827), pp. The register of 170 pages provides a synopsis of the lives of hundreds of LMS missionaries. In February 1820, an American clergyman who visited the museum recorded that two rooms had been filled, but his attention was particularly absorbed by the Polynesian ‘idols’, suggesting: There are a great many of them, arranged on the shelves of the museum. However, this appears never to have been published, possibly because at precisely this time, the lms embarked on a series of major exhibitions across the British Isles. N. Thomas, Entangled Objects: Exchange, Material Culture, and Colonialism in the Pacific (Cambridge, ma, 1991), p. 243, note 259. Catalogue of the Missionary Museum, Austin Friars (London, 1826), p. iv. 29 no.1 (2017) pp.109-128; DOI: 10.1093/jhc/fhw002. 3). . 98–102. 10). According to Latham, ethnology was a new science ‘not exactly of the different nations of the world, but of the different varieties of the human species’: Handbooks to the Crystal Palace: Natural History (London, 1854), p. 5. a storehouse of the products of people who lived in unity with nature’.47 Nevertheless, it is also possible to regard the disjuncture between the advertisement and the contents of the catalogue as evidence that an original rationale of the museum, that of general ‘curiosity’, was in the process of being overtaken by a new focus on objects associated with religious practice and superstition. The remainder was then sold at an auction at Stevens on 31 May 1910. See: C. E. Weinberg, ‘Moffat’s model house, South Africa’, in Jacobs, et al. While the dispatch of models of ‘Hindoo deities’ from India may be an example of competition between different mission fields, it is also suggestive of the way in which the lms museum was regarded as a repository for things to be used in the production of imagery for missionary propaganda. London Missionary Society This page summarises records created by this Organisation The summary includes a brief description of the collection(s) (usually including the covering dates of the collection), the name of the archive where they are held, and reference information to … New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. Indeed, these may have been more significant in shaping the British views of the world beyond Europe during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries than other forms of knowledge developed in more scientific museums. The specimens, illustrating the former, are subdivided according to the Missionary Stations from whence they have been received, and are distinguished by the colour of the paper on which the number is printed, as under: green – South Sea Islands. ‘Report of Museum & Library Sub-Committee’. The juxtaposition of these with ‘articles of natural genius’ led Sivasundaram to speculate that the museum was ‘from one point of view . Please refer to the PDF format of this volume for an undistorted view of the foldout(s). ‘The Family Idols of Pomare’, image from the cover of Missionary Sketches no. . These objects are now carefully labelled, so that we can pass along with both pleasure and instruction’.79 While earlier images are suggestive of a room that functioned as much as a storeroom as a space of display, in 1859 the museum appears to have been deliberately arranged to create a visual spectacle. leaving hairless skins to mark its progress . But the great first ventures of the London Missionary Society were in the South Seas and South Africa, and in both those fields a long and noble succession of missionaries has toiled with an ever-enlarging sphere of beneficent influence down to the present day. cit. In 1903, the lms headquarters moved from Blomfield Street, where they had been since 1835, to temporary accommodation at Gray’s Inn Road. The London Missionary Society (LMS), established in 1795, was one of a number of voluntary foreign missionary societies formed throughout Western Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. See P. Carson, The East India Company and Religion, 1698–1858 (Woodbridge, 2012). Nevertheless, these were intended to form the basis of prints that would feature in the new quarterly publication, Missionary Sketches, which had featured the image of ‘the family idols of Pomare’ on its front cover in October 1818. 487–519. Mission activity started in the South Seas, with the first overseas mission to Tahiti in 1796. Plan and constitution of the London Missionary Society, established in 1795. The museum at the London Missionary Society headquarters has been studied largely by those with an interest in early Polynesian missionary encounters, and has become famous as a repository for pre-Christian religious ‘idols’ given up by converts to Christianity. When the same figures are compared according to the mission field from which they came, it becomes clear that more items in the collection came from Africa than from other parts of the world in 1826, especially given that many of the things with unknown geographical provenances are likely to be specimens of African natural history (Fig. Extensions to the Mission House at Blomfield Street in 1878 involved relocating the museum to a newly built upper floor of the main building, where it was ‘carefully arranged in the new cases provided for it’.94 A short account of the museum at the time of this move noted that the collection had ‘accumulated during a long course of years by the agents of the Society in all lands’. While this form of classification was not rigidly applied in 1826, it nevertheless suggests an emerging method of classifying the collection geographically, according to the administrative divisions of the society’s work. These essentially match the catalogue descriptions, as well as the cases depicted in the 1859 image (Fig. Bell 12 A rriving in the Torres Straits in 1871, the London Missionary Society (LMS) commenced their attempts to convert communities along the south coast of what is now Papua New Guinea. J. Cox, The British Missionary Enterprise since 1700 (New York, 2008), p. 97. While the natural history collection became peripheral to the way the museum was catalogued and displayed, the ‘History’ division also seems to have been divided into two main categories ‘Idols and Objects of Superstitious Regard’ and ‘Articles of dress, domestic utensils, implements of war, music &c’. Address for correspondence Dr Chris Wingfield, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge cb2 3dz. Having inspected the collection personally, Cuming suggested that objects in the collection were: . Nevertheless, this deliberate positioning of the Missionary Museum in relation to other museums can be understood with regard to the emergence of other institutions with similar collections during the second half of the nineteenth century. a giraffe), a series of Chinese paintings ‘illustrative of the method of gathering and preparing tea, and a net made of human hair’. This case was given additional significance by the fact that it had, hanging over the ship, the club that reputedly had killed the eponymous hero, John Williams. cit. … This transformation should undoubtedly be connected to wider shifts in exhibition practices, including the emergence of conventional modes of display that became associated with the exhibitions that proliferated in the years following the 1851 Great Exhibition in London.80. london… In September 1819, a gift of twenty-two models of ‘Hindoo deities’ was recorded, a present from the Bengal Auxiliary Missionary Society at Calcutta.26 While it seems likely that the dispatch of this ‘present’ was in emulation of, or perhaps in competition with Pomare’s ‘idols’, it is significant that the ‘Hindoo deities’ were referred to as models, presumably purchased rather than given up voluntarily by converts. The Friend in Need, from "Illustrated London News", April 23, 1859. This suggests that the establishment of a headquarters in London was in large part driven by an accumulation of property in the form of curiosities from other parts of the world. 6), ten years after the first. 3) A covered wagon with seated slaves in foreground, in South Africa. cit. Publications by the lms, and particularly books written by individual missionaries, circulated much more widely than the churches and individuals who regularly supported the society. © The Author. Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. West Indies. Nevertheless, one of the largest areas of growth in the collection was in the number of ‘idols’ from India, presumably connected to the continuing campaigns in Britain against East India Company involvement in Hindu religious practices during the 1830s.88. With surviving traces of the lms museum reassembled, it becomes possible to re-imagine the historical processes and networks of relation and exchange through which its collection was assembled, and ultimately disassembled, over the course of the long nineteenth century. 21–2. Home Board Minutes. The "John Williams IV" is the fourth of seven ships to bear the name "John Williams" for the London Missionary Society. . The ship is destined to voyage about just in that part of the world from whence these idols come, and to carry the Messengers and the Message of Mercy among the very people who for ages have been left to darkness, cruelty, and death; but among whom a great light now shines, and a glorious change is taking place.74. Museum of the London Missionary Society, Blomfield Street, 007. The London Missionary Society's Museum', by Helen C. Gordon, in The English Illustrated Magazine, Vol. While the lms museum and its collection may not primarily have been intended to ‘advance learning’ in a scholarly sense, it certainly played an important role in developing forms of knowledge about the lives of people in other parts of the world. Home affairs: 1821-1895. . ‘The Museum of the London Missionary Society’, Illustrated London News (25 June 1859), p. 620. Museum of the London Missionary Society: Interior, with text . While the functions of the lms museum as institutional ‘trophy case’ may be different from the ‘scientific’ museums of ethnography that emerged during the last third of the nineteenth century, and into which much of the lms collection was subsequently transferred, it nevertheless seems important to counter Altick’s assertion that ‘the museum’s purpose was not to advance learning’.108 Jeffrey Cox has suggested that ‘for most British children in the nineteenth century, the single largest source of information about what foreign peoples were like came from the foreign missionary societies of their respective denominations’.109 The reach of the lms, however, went further than this: missionary meetings at which objects from the lms museum were displayed took place in the churches and schools of the established Church of England, those associated with Methodism, as well as the Congregational churches that formed the core support of the lms. Ultimately this fed into a proposal from the Literature Committee in February 1885: ‘That the Board sanction the selection of sets of objects of interest from the Society’s Museum for use when required for exhibition at meetings of various kinds.’95. 1 box containing 4 files. 53–7; D. S. King, Missionaries and Idols in Polynesia (San Francisco, 2015), p. 43; R. Seton, ‘An overview and analysis of missionary collections in the United Kingdom relating to South Asia’, in India and the Indianness of Christianity: Essays on Understanding, Historical, Theological, and Bibliographical, in honor of Robert Eric Frykenberg (Grand Rapids, 2009), p. 262; R. Seton, ‘Reconstructing the museum of the lms’, Material Religion 8 no. While the second catalogue of the museum has previously been undated, its description of the ordering and contents of the cases bears a close relation to those depicted in this image, suggesting that it was produced after the reorganization referred to as ‘recent’ in 1859. PRICE TWOPENCE. (note 96), p. 113, 14 February 1910. In 1818 and 1819 (New York, 1823), p. 239. For a discussion of the ‘Pilgrim Tax’ see Carson, op. Analysis of the income and expenditure of the London Missionary Society from 1796 to 1895 Notes. Appendices: I. London: LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY, 48, BROADWAY, WESTMINSTER, S.W. of natural genius, especially in countries rude and uncivilized’, which seems to refer particularly to Africa, the Pacific and Madagascar in contemporary usage, are intended to prove the capacity of these people for Christian instruction.43 Nevertheless the real rhetorical weight of the ‘advertisement’ follows in a new paragraph: But the most valuable and impressive objects in this Collection, are the numerous, and (in some instances) horribleidols, which have been imported from the South Sea Islands, from India, from China, and Africa; and among these, those especially which were given up by their former worshippers, from a full conviction of the folly and sin of idolatry – a conviction derived from the ministry of the Gospel by the Missionaries.44, For an evangelical missionary society, there was a very special significance attached to items ‘given up . . Plan and constitution of the London Missionary Society, established in 1795. 5).70 This offers a slightly different perspective to the 1843 image, but the contents and locations of the museum appear to be essentially the same. the spider has spun its web in every corner, and the extraordinary works both of God and Man are alike obscured, and disfigured with dust and cobwebs. This suggests an increasing awareness that the collection represented a fairly outdated perspective on parts of the world where missionary endeavours had been successful, such as the Pacific. Displays of ethnology were arranged by Dr R. G. Latham for the first time as part of the Natural History Department at the Crystal Palace in 1854. See Cox, op. 2015. Surely they are fit to represent the hatefulness of devils and correspond well with the shocking rites of devil worship. the name of the archive where they are held, and reference information to help you find the collection. ‘Notice respecting articles lent from the Missionary Museum’, Missionary Magazine and Chronicle (April 1846), p. 62. soas: cwm/lms/Home/Incoming correspondence, Box 9, Folder 8 – Joseph Ketley to the Board of Directors of the London Missionary Society, 14 December 1849. The London Missionary Society collections from the Papuan Gulf Joshua A. She sank in 50 fathoms after drifting onto a reef at Danger … ‘The Missionary Museum’, Juvenile Missionary Magazine 17 (1860), pp. 84–5. af; lms.3. G. Buggeln, C. Paine and S. Brent Plate, 231-238. SC_PZ_CT_01_0906 / City of London JB 30025 (Collage 316645) Collection. His family was the first mission family to visit Samoa, and started the Christian Mission there in 1830. The museum at the London Missionary Society headquarters has been studied largely by those with an interest in early Polynesian missionary encounters, and has become famous as a repository for pre-Christian religious ‘idols’ given up by converts to Christianity. African artefacts were listed towards the end of the later catalogue, just before a smattering of objects from the Americas. chris.wingfield@maa.cam.ac.uk, Chris Wingfield, ‘Scarcely more than a Christian trophy case’? cit. 17] (note 82), p. 12. In 1835, just over two decades after the Missionary Society first took a set of rooms, a new ‘Mission House’ was built at a cost of over £3,000 in nearby Blomfield Street, where it would remain for next sixty-eight years.62 The museum was established in the midst of land at the back of the new building, with a degree of physical separation from the administrative functions of the society, although it could be entered through glass doors at the far end of the main entrance hall.63 The museum had one main room, lit by a pair of skylights, as well as a lobby in which additional items were displayed. See record ZBA5595 for duplicate. In the same year, the Foreign Secretary of the lms was authorized ‘to sell for the Society such objects from the Museum as are without any special missionary interest’, although it is unclear that much was sold at this time.97 The museum was rearranged following these departures in late 1890, but attention increasingly appears to have been given to exhibitions.98 These included an exhibition of around 2,000 items at the Crystal Palace in 1895 to celebrate the centenary of the lms, including many from the museum.99. Quantitative analysis of the 1826 catalogue according to region of origin and subdivided according to three main categories listed in the catalogue’s ‘advertisement’. The register of 170 pages provides a synopsis of the lives of hundreds of LMS missionaries. Download this stock image: THE MUSEUM OF THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY - D2YG8D from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. BMS World Mission is a Christian mission organisation, working in around 30 countries on four continents. 18, It is striking that when the museum opened, the overwhelming criterion for inclusion among its collection appears to have been curiosity, rather than any specific connection with missionary activity.19 Nevertheless, the museum appears to have been immediately successful in inspiring support for the society. By the time he returned with ‘natural curiosities’ including a wildebeest and various mineral specimens, these had to compete for attention with the now infamous ‘gods’ from the Pacific. 298–9. . fruits of toil in the london missionary society. Copies of these books were displayed at the museum and the catalogue suggested ‘By this great achievement, many millions of the human race may be enlightened in the knowledge of God our saviour’.59, What I have called an ‘archaeological’ approach, with a focus on the collection itself, rather than the rhetoric surrounding it, makes it possible to gain a better sense of the way in which items in the collection were connected to specific histories of missionary activity in different parts of the world. In most cases these were substantially based on the accounts that had featured in missionary publications. Juvenile supporters of the mission had paid for and been nominally responsible for this ship since 1844. It was, after all, professionally useful, if not essential, for evangelical missionaries to have some understanding of the existing religious views of the people they were attempting to convert. [vol. A model of Pomare’s chapel had served to emphasize the changes that Christianity had brought to the Pacific in 1826, but in 1847 a model of the missionary ship, launched three years previously in memory of its namesake, fulfilled this function. 195–8; (October 1847), pp. Analysis of the income and expenditure of the London Missionary Society from 1796 to 1895 . Visitors to the Pacific collections came to dominate the collections by 1860 ( Fig a covered wagon with seated in... 1853 ), p. 237 advertisement ’ referred to as ‘ efforts of natural,., 1825 ), p. 620 Recent Miscellaneous intelligence: London Missionary Society to become the prototypes two-dimensional... For a family of visitors to the South Pacific were missionaries, Travels in South Africa: Journey! In both outlook and membership of LMS missionaries Christian trophy case damp walls have generated mould, suggested., China, India and Africa with the first overseas mission to Tahiti 1796... 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Polynesia 1760–1860 ( London, 1899 ), pp synopsis of the LMS was ‘ to the. - History and Origin of the income and expenditure of the London Museum... Joshua a number 55250 Camera the Missionary Museum ’, the Museum appeared the! Public display since the 19th Century of missionaries, deputations, etc ( Fig enabled. Joshua a c.1859–62 ), pp around 1798 to 1844, primarily watercolour on China and Ultra.... Illustrated London News '', April 23, 1859 out-of-place at the same year several! Personally, Cuming suggested that having become Christian, Pacific Encounters: Art and Divinity Polynesia... Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa English-speaking colonies and expenditure of the London Missionary Society: Report!

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