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Extra resources for Access to Museum Culture: the British Museum from 1753 to 1836

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191. British Library, Department of Manuscripts, Sir Henry Ellis, Diaries and memoranda, no. 1, Add. MS 36,653, fol. 31-33. 18 Sloane, The Will of Sir Hans Sloane, p. 3, 28-29. 40 41 of rank to examine and use the collection and library demonstrated that he wanted the Museum to be used by people who could benefit and appreciate it. Another aspect of the introduction that related to the intellect of the individual was the phrase, `on such who were designed to have free Access'. The description applied to the people for whom the Museum was designed.

33 The trustees argued that the Museum needed to be closed on Saturdays for cleaning and that "no one, that can have any pretentions [sic] to come to read or consult the Books or MSS, can have any difficulty to acquire that priviledge, [sic] & none but improper persons can be excluded. . "34 Even for the worker who had a five-day workweek, it remained difficult to find time to visit the Museum. Laborers and office workers could have come in the evening, but Sir Hans Sloane did not permit lit fires in the rooms of the collection, and the trustees continued the practice.

11 British Museum, Board of Trustees, Committee Minutes 6 (1 April 1779): 38 1651. 39 The Trustees in trying to envisage how the lower classes might use the British Museum looked to the behavior of the people at the theatre, and thus they saw only riot and mayhem. "12 There had been riots at the Haymarket Theatre in 1738, the Drury Lane in 1744 and 1755, and the Covent Garden in 1763, and the damage was expensive. 13 Protests and uproars erupted over many issues, and while damage to property was the usual result, injury and loss of life was not unusual.

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