The contagious magic of James Cook in Captain-Cook's cottage

Young, Linda 2008, The contagious magic of James Cook in Captain-Cook's cottage, reCollections : journal of the National Museum of Australia, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 123-142.

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Title The contagious magic of James Cook in Captain-Cook's cottage
Author(s) Young, Linda
Journal name reCollections : journal of the National Museum of Australia
Volume number 3
Issue number 2
Start page 123
End page 142
Total pages 20
Publisher National Museum of Australia
Place of publication Canberra, A.C.T.
Publication date 2008-10
ISSN 1833-1335
Summary It is widely known that the so-called Cooks' Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, relocated from Yorkshire to Melbourne in 1934, was never inhabited by Captain James Cook. Yet a subliminal nationalism, sustained by the ancient traditions of contagious magic, feeds the conviction that the dwelling must be directly connected to Australia's foundation hero — a relic that the great man touched — or else it is meaningless. This paper tracks a sequence of managerial–interpretive strategies derived from a chronology of knowledge systems to make meanings at the cottage. It introduces evidence of the original shape of the building in its Great Ayton location, and observes the consequences on management and interpretation of an older demolition and consequent rebuilding of only half the cottage in Melbourne. Much turns on changing ideas about authenticity, as management strategies fail to engage the popular taste for a hero via the magic of faith. The result is a set of opposing principles in presenting the cottage: the role of the historical record as it has enlarged, and the desires of visitors who expect a simple connection between myth and materiality.
Language eng
Field of Research 120102 Architectural Heritage and Conservation
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of History, Heritage and Society
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