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Forty years ago, anthropologist Adrienne Kaeppler was working at Bishop Museum when she was challenged by a curatorial puzzle that launched her into a lifelong quest to determine the present-day whereabouts and backstories of the artifacts of the Holophusicon, perhaps the most important museum in Europe in the late eighteenth century.
In her new book, Holophusicon, the Leverian Museum: An Eighteenth- Century English Institution of Science, Curiosity, and Art, Kaeppler traces the fascinating history of the institution itself and its owner, Sir Ashton Lever, incorporating hundreds of period illustrations and detailed descriptions. Her extensive scholarly investigation has resulted in a comprehensive catalogue that illuminates the breadth and historical importance of the Leverian collections, which included some of the best collections from the voyages of Captain James Cook.
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