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MUSEUMS IN CARDIFF. NOTES ON THE VOLUNTARY AND MUNICIPAL MUSEUMS; A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WALES; AND OBSERVATIONS ON THE CLOSE ASSOCIATION OF THE CARDIFF NATURALISTS' SOCIETY WITH MUSEUM AFFAIRS.1 By A. H. LEE. MUSEUMS IN GENERAL. The name "Museum" goes back many centuries. The first Temple of the Muses was the Museum of Alexandria, but this was not a Museum as we know them to-day, but a College of Scholars, who studied the vast collections got together by Alexander the Great and his successors. These collections, however, were destroyed by fire in the 4th century A.D., and the idea which the word "Museum" implies apparently slipped from the mind of man till the 17th century. Strange as it may seem, none of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylonia, or Assyria-nor the very old civilizations of China and India, nor yet of Greece or Rome-brought museums into existence, no doubt because these earlier civilizations were interested little, if at all, in past achievements-each generation being content to develop in its own way. (2). Oxford may claim the honour of possessing the oldest museum in this country. This museum originated in the collections got together by the two John Tradescants, father and son, between the beginning and the middle of the 17th century, which, under the name "Museum Tradescant- ianum," were exhibited in their house in Lambeth. "Twelve cartloads of rarities" were bequeathed by the younger Tradescant to Elias Ashmole, who in turn presented them, with his own additions, to Oxford University in 1683, and 1 Based on the writer's Presidential Address delivered to the Society on 29th October, 1931. 2 Sir Frederic Kenyon: Libraries and Museums, ch. vii.