About the research project
This project looks at the history of four collections of Indian coins currently held in the Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum. While they are named after four British male coin collectors – Jose Gerson da Cunha, H. Nelson Wright, Alfred Master and R. B. Whitehead, we know little about the Indian scholars who helped them in assembling these collections. This project aims to uncover the role of indigenous Indian scholars and collectors in creating these coin collections and in producing expert knowledge about the Indian past on their basis.
Studying the role of the Indian scholars who helped British coin collectors, Jose Gerson da Cunha, H. Nelson Wright, Alfred Master and R. B. Whitehead, in assembling their coin collections.
- Exploring the involvement of Indian scholars in collecting, investigating, and studying South Asian coins, and their relationships with the British collectors.
- Reconstructing the collectors' networks that lie obscured behind these coin collections by exploring the networks of friendship, professional alliance and scholarly societies of these collectors and their contribution in co-producing knowledge about Indian history.
- Contributing to the project of 'decolonizing' museums by telling a fuller history of South Asian colonial collections housed in various museums in the UK.
- Disseminating this research through blog posts and other creative mediums.
- Linking knowledge about these coin collections and collectors to further South Asian collections in the UK, enabling more UK museums to write richer and more inclusive narratives of the history of their collections.
- Encouraging other museums to initiate projects investigating their collecting histories, and towards designing exhibits that tell a more critical story of their colonial-era collections.