Welcome to visit1862.com, an online space dedicated to exploring the 1862 International Exhibition.
1862 was a world event on a mass-scale. Thousands of objects from 36 different countries were displayed together to represent the best of the raw, crafted and manufactured. This art and industry of the cutting-edge was staged in a specially designed site in South Kensington, London – now the location of the Natural History and Science Museums. Larger in size, scope and scale than the 1851 Great Exhibition, 1862 was nevertheless judged a flop and failed to establish a lasting legacy like that of its predecessor. Long overshadowed and overlooked, we are keen to readdress this imbalance and give 1862 the attention it deserves.
Begun as a project while students upon the V&A/RCA History of Design MA, we will be documenting our research journey, conducting object-based investigations and engaging with broader intellectual debates around the study of human experience. Our collaborative platform posts a journal, articles and academic essays that share our research into the visitor experience of 1862 and the culture of exhibiting in the nineteenth-century. We hope our site will become a forum for the various voices interested in 1862 and nineteenth-century exhibitions more generally, in order to initiate dialogues that travel beyond the walls of the exhibition and South Kensington.
We are both keen to share the approaches and tools of Design History with a wider audience and engage in cross-disciplinary interaction. All related knowledge – particularly concerning individual visitors to 1862 – material, photo essays, written contributions and comments that readers wish to share will be welcomed with enthusiasm.