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There has been an upsurge of interest in the British Museum's unrivalled collections and their place in eighteenth-century culture. Concentrating on the explorer and naturalist Joseph Banks (1743-1820), this book explores the early history of collections at the British Museum, the first public national museum to be established. Banks travelled around the world with James Cook on HMS Endeavour, making important plant, animal and insect collections. Becoming one of the major patrons of British exploration and science, Banks was a significant trustee and donor of material for the museum. Taking Banks's extraordinary career as its basis, this book examines the changes that took place during a period of transition that led to collecting on an increasingly global scale and shows how these affected the British Museum itself.