This collector’s gallery looks at the origins of the museum’s collections and how a very diverse group of objects from the four corners of the world ended up in Middlesbrough. Every object was, at some point, collected or selected with some purpose in mind. They reveal a good deal about the personal interests, beliefs and intentions of the people who donated them.
The Dorman Museum grew out of the Victorian pursuit of scientific understanding. The original displays were an attempt to demonstrate all the orders and species of the animal world – mammals, birds, insects and molluscs. The museum’s collection of artefacts from different world cultures also has its roots in the colonial era. Administrators working in far-flung parts of the empire brought home souvenirs of the peoples they had lived and worked with.
The Four Corners gallery is divided into the modern and the ancient world, as archaeology forms another important element of the museum’s collections. The ethnographical artefacts and natural history specimens are displayed according to their country of origin. Our Ancient Egyptian and Roman artefacts are well represented and an attempt has been made to set them in context. One case resembles the exterior of an Egyptian tomb with only a few holes broken through to reveal the treasures within. Another case gives the impression that the objects are protected by a pair of bronze Roman doors. A large fragment of marble relief from a second century A.D. sarcophagus surmounts this case.