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(7b the Editor.)

Sir, — Mountebanks, charlatans, and showmen have, in past ages, as in this, been considered, by the masses, to be more learned than the sages of the period, and reasonably so, a 8 they have appealed, and still do so, to the senses of sight and feeling, as well as to that of sound, written descriptions arc poor guides without tangible representation in the shape of engravings, or specimens, or examples. The

ancients made collections of the writings of eminent and celebrated men, but the moderns have added in their Wisdom buildings for the exhibition of the actual objeots brought before the notice ot the i public by standard authorities, both 'past and present . These institutions are termed museums, and I am pleased to have visited that of llokitika;but here, as in other museums I have seen, I find a lamentable deficiency. There are the specimens of rocks, minerals, shells, birds, &c, &c, but, without the descriptive cards so necessary for the proper understanding of their different merits and uses. .Nothing can be more interesting than to examine these natural productions, when accompanied by the English name, and a terse account of the commercial vahae, locality, and an idea of the approximate yield, numbers, or quantities. The scientific names arc useless (to the general visitor) without the English, as the Usual frequenters are of the sight-seeing class, and want both time amd works of scientific reference, as well' as well as the education necessary to make the latter available. It id my impression that with these descriptions affixed to the objects in the museum, very many visitors would be attracted to wile away a profitable hour more than now frequent the building. The Christchurch Museum is opened in the afternoon on Sundays. It would probably afford much gratification, were the same course adopted here ; you have many exhibits of interest to all classes, and if more descriptive additions were placed with the specimens, 1 am convinced that a feeling of pride and pleasure would peryade the surrounding ; population, and many contributions of valuable and varied objects would be forthcoming. Like Schools of Design, and other institHtions for the purpose of instruction, aa the interest is taken in them by the severa committees of management ; so do the bulk of the people become anxious for their development. Tours, &c, DIEDRICK NEWCOMER. Hokitika, October 12, 1874.

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USEFUL KNOWLEDGE., Issue 2824, 13 October 1874

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USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. Issue 2824, 13 October 1874

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