Enlightenment (Room 1)
Trade and discovery
Sir Hans Sloane’s collection included ceremonial and every day objects representing customs and cultures of people around the globe. They formed the beginnings of an ethnographic collection that grew through the century as men like Captain James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks returned from voyages of trade and discovery to Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and other Pacific islands.
Others were sent by the Admiralty to discover the Northwest Passage through the Arctic or by the government to forge or mend diplomatic relations. Meanwhile officials of the East India and other great trading companies studied the cultures of the people with whom they lived, collected further artefacts and published illustrated accounts that provided information about the lives and cultures of people around the world.