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Women and Museums 1850-1914Modernity and the Gendering of Knowledge$
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Kate Hill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719081156

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719081156.001.0001

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Women visiting museums

Women visiting museums

(p.103) 4 Women visiting museums
Women and Museums 1850-1914

Kate Hill

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines women’s role as visitors to museums, looking first at how women visitors were perceived – where there was a change from seeing them as potential polluters of the museum, to seeing them as agents of civilisation who would improve the conduct of male visitors – and then exploring how women visitors themselves understood their visit and used the museum space. Here it is argued that as middle-class women in particular became a dominant part of museum audiences, they came to use the space in a variety of ways, as an important component of their leisure, educational, and imaginative lives. It is in this context that the suffragette attacks on museum paintings and objects needs to be set – the key problem such suffragettes posed is that they looked just like all the other visitors.

Keywords:   Visitors, Students, Suffragettes

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