By Peter H. Hoffenberg
The grand exhibitions of the Victorian and Edwardian eras are the lens wherein Peter Hoffenberg examines the industrial, cultural, and social forces that helped outline Britain and the British Empire. He makes a speciality of significant exhibitions in England, Australia, and India among the good Exhibition of 1851 and the pageant of Empire sixty years later, taking distinct curiosity within the interactive nature of the exhibition adventure, the long term results for the individuals and host societies, and the ways that such renowned gatherings published dissent in addition to celebration.Hoffenberg indicates how exhibitions formed tradition and society inside and throughout borders within the transnational operating of the British Empire. The exhibitions have been imperative to constructing and constructing a participatory imperial international, and every polity in that international supplied targeted info, viewers, and shows. one of the monitors have been advertisement items, operating machines, and ethnographic scenes. shows have been meant to advertise exterior commonwealth and inner nationalism. The imperial overlay didn't erase major modifications yet defined and used them in financial and cultural terms.The exhibitions in towns akin to London, Sydney, and Calcutta have been dwelling and lively public inventories of the Empire and its nationwide political groups. the method of creating and eating such inventories persists this day within the cultural bureaucracies, museums, and gala's of recent geographical regions, the entice culture and social order, and the activities of transnational our bodies.
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Additional resources for An Empire on Display: English, Indian, and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War
The ideology was ostensibly one of Free Trade, whereas the structure represented an imperial economic federation, or Zollverein. Exhibits moved increasingly along the path of Joseph Chamberlain’s vision for “forward” imperial economic order. This idealized, self-contained empire of raw materials, capital, artisans, manufactured products, and consumers contrasted sharply with the reality of British trade with, and investments in, the United States, Latin America, and Imperial Russia, and with the growing Australian and Indian interest in independent and direct trade with North American and European nations.
Some critics even attempted to appropriate the exhibitions for their own alternative visions of the host nations and the British Empire. In turn, the shows are historical moments in which we can view the sinews holding together the British Empire as well as English, Australian, and Indian societies. As with all visions and symbolic constructions of public culture, the display of objects and persons hid and mystiﬁed as much, if not more, than it revealed. While making some identities visible, the exhibition commissioners and government ofﬁcials reduced others to the realm of invisibility.
60 To complete the celebration and mark “Australia’s” (not only Victoria’s and Melbourne’s) entry into the international community of nations, the commissioners invited exhibitors from Great Britain, India, Canada, South Africa, Ceylon, North America, Europe, and East Asia. were exhibitions ephemeral events? Did colonial exhibitions leave lasting legacies in Australia and India? Did such seemingly ephemeral events affect the host society in Britain as well, long after ofﬁcial closings? Historical studies of expositions often emphasize the ephemeral character of the exhibition experience and the exhibits themselves, mirroring the comments of some contemporaries.