26 October 2019, 15:30 - 16:30
Historian Dr Catherine Pearson talks about John Ruskin’s influence on cultural change in the museum movement in the UK, in the lead up to and during the Second World War.
Ruskin’s thinking on the value of museums was of great influence to key museum figures of the time such as Sir Kenneth Clark, then Director of the National Gallery, and Sir Henry Miers and Sir Frank Markham, both of whom published important reports on the state of museums, and recommendations for their improvement, prior to the outbreak of war.
During the Second World War, the UK’s regional museums, led by the example of the National Gallery, did not close – as expected due to wartime conditions – but flourished and provided an enhanced cultural service, bringing the arts, education and social improvement to people’s lives and providing a cultural haven for visitors to enjoy, away from the struggles of wartime life. These changes in museum provision were based on Ruskin’s philosophy of the cultivation of people’s inner lives, through direct encounters with the arts and education.
Dr Catherine Pearson is an independent historian and author of Museums in the Second World War: Curators, Culture and Change.
This event is part of Cambridge Festival of Ideas.