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This paper examines the introduction of catalogue stalls among London-based national museums and galleries in the 1910s, using the British Museum as an extended case study. It seeks to frame this initiative as an important moment in the history of museums as they shifted from predominately scholastic institutions, largely unresponsive to the needs of their visitors, to ones with a growing awareness of their role in public education. By being prominently positioned in museum lobbies, the catalogue stall provided a focal point for visitors to extend their cultural experience through educational or souvenir materials, and can be seen as part of a broader series of initiatives to make museums more intellectually accessible. The effect of the introduction of the catalogue stall ―increased sales of catalogues, guidebooks, photographs, and postcards― demonstrated that visitors valued this amenity, while the income generated ensured this initial intrusion of commercial principles into the space would become a permanent feature of museum infrastructure.


The article is copyrighted by the author. The entire work is copyrighted by the SECRETARÍA GENERAL TÉCNICA Subdirección General de Atención al Ciudadano, Documentación y Publicaciones.



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