Historians have given much attention to museums and exhibitions as sites for the production and communication of knowledge in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But few studies have analysed how the activity and participation of visitors was designed and promoted at such locations. Using Francis Galton's Anthropometric Laboratory at the International Health Exhibition in London 1884 as the empirical focal point, this paper explores a new mode of involving exhibition audiences in the late nineteenth century. Its particular form of address is characterized by an ambition to transform the visitors' self-understanding by engaging them with various techniques of scientific observation and representation of social issues. By analysing the didactics of this particular project, I argue that the observational ideal of ‘mechanical objectivity’ and associated modes of representation in this instance became an integrated part of a political vision of self-observation and self-reformation. Thus the exhibit and related projects by Galton not only underpinned a theoretical lesson, but also were part of an effort to extend a complex set of practices among the general public
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DOI 10.1017/s0007087411000859
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References found in this work BETA

Knowledge in Transit.James A. Secord - 2004 - Isis 95 (4):654-672.
Knowledge in Transit.James A. Secord - 2004 - Isis 95 (4):654-672.
Introduction.Jonathan R. Topham - 2009 - Isis 100 (2):310-318.

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Science and Self-Assessment: Phrenological Charts 1840–1940.Fenneke Sysling - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Science 51 (2):261-280.

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