A record of ethnographic objects procured for the Crystal Palace exhibition in Sydenham


  • Silje Opdahl Mathisen University of Oslo




This article investigates the events surrounding the discovery of a double set of Sámi artefacts collected in Norway in the 1850s. While the collecting had received government funding and was initiated by a Norwegian scholar, the commission for it came from London. One set of artefacts was to be exhibited at Crystal Palace in Sydenham, a commercial venue reaching a tremendously large audience. The other set became part of the Ethnographic Museum in Oslo, a much smaller scientific institution established in 1857. By turning the spotlight on the historical context and agencies of these two sets of artefacts, this chapter examines the notions of early ethnographic practices.

Author Biography

Silje Opdahl Mathisen, University of Oslo

Museum of Cultural History

Ph.D., Collection Manager