Glimpses of British Guiana at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886
Keywords:Anthropological Exhibits, Amerindians, Colonial Exhibition, British Empire, Everard im Thurn, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Guyana, Objects
This paper uses the example of the British Guiana Court at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 as a case study to demonstrate how British Guiana (now Guyana) was represented in Britain at the time, by crossreferencing different materials (e.g. objects, correspondence, reports, and newspapers from that period). This exhibition also shows which raw materials from the British Guiana were of interest to Britain and the involvement of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in this matter. Nevertheless, the exhibition not only displayed objects and commodities, such as the case of sugar, but also displayed people. Here, particular attention is paid to the Amerindians who were portrayed as living ethnological exhibits at the exhibition. This paper aims to understand how British Guiana was seen and administered by its mother country and also how Everard im Thurn (1852-1932), the explorer, sought to manoeuvre that representation, as well as his relation with RBG, Kew. Taking into consideration that this colony was a neglected area of the British Empire, even in im Thurn’s time, this exhibition was an opportunity not only to display the empire but also for advertising the potential of the neglected colony and to ensure that it would not be forgotten.
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