From the mid-1960s a new breed of scientific instrument curators emerged in the United Kingdom. This small community of practice developed in parallel to but distinctly from the expanding generation of university historians of science and other cognate museum sub-professions. Presenting the trajectories, experiences and practices of personnel in British scientific instrument collections, especially the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, this article explores how networks of interest around collections shaped the museum sector in later twentieth-century Britain. With particular objects – especially eighteenth-century instruments – the ‘brass brigade’ built a discipline.
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