ABSTRACT

This chapter outlines some of the activities Sir Joseph Banks engaged in as a trustee, how he dealt with officers and collections during his long tenure, and his involvement can really be construed merely as detrimental and interfering. During his time at the Museum there was a marked decline in the number of trustees who were also Fellows of the Royal Society with authentic claims to scientific knowledge. The Royal Society was incorporated by charter in 1662, and was the capital's major philosophical society. Banks was its President from 1778 to 1820, during his presidency the influence of scientific Fellows at the Museum seemingly waned. The museum builders of Banks's day were engaged in an enormous task, and their ambitious efforts to order and present knowledge often strained late eighteenth-century resources and skills, not least at a place like the British Museum, where the widest range of material was kept.