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Transformative BeautyArt Museums in Industrial Britain$
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Amy Woodson-Boulton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778046

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778046.001.0001

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The Public House Versus the Public Home

The Public House Versus the Public Home

The Debate over Sunday Opening

(p.54) 2 The Public House Versus the Public Home
Transformative Beauty
Stanford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of whether art could draw people out of the pub, and whether the working classes needed a government-supported alternative to their own homes for rest and recreation. The debate over Sunday opening of the art museums directly compared the goals and claims of art and religion and marked between domesticated and “brutal” public space. The battle over Sunday opening in Liverpool reveals the powerful idea of museums as domesticated public space, and the extent to which both the use of art as a means of social reform and evangelical Sabbatarianism could become politicized. In Manchester, it shows the familiar struggle between Liberal reformers and workers supporting the opening of civic institutions on Sundays and religious organizations opposing it on the grounds of both religion and protections against a seven-day workweek. It is noted that the Sunday-opening movement crystallized the arguments of art museum supporters.

Keywords:   art museums, Sunday opening, Liverpool, Manchester, evangelical Sabbatarianism, Liberal reformers, religious organizations, social reform, public house, public space

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