Last week Marabou posted about colonial language shaping the way people understand African history and culture at the British Museum. Last Friday, coordinated actions by Decolonize This Place at The Brooklyn Museum and at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) asked for accountability and repatriation of African objects. As people demand museums acknowledge and rectify historical transgressions, how are institutions responding? … In the News: Museums Respond to Requests for Object Repatriation
It’s time for Marabou’s analysis of the British Museum Part II in which they address the institution’s not-so-great aspects. In this post, Marabou focuses on transparency of ownership and acquisition processes, colonial language, and questionable display decisions.
The British Museum is both famous and infamous for its collection of objects that represent key moments in the evolution of human civilization. For those who don’t know of the museum’s infamous reputation, just think about a museum in a country that used to be the world’s most expansionist imperial and colonial power, how do you think those objects were acquired for the museum? Diplomatic gifts? Maybe. But many many objects at the British Museum, particularly their most popular ones, were seized, stolen, or received as spoils of war. Since the British Museum is often mentioned in debates about repatriation of objects within museum collections and other hot-button museum-world discussions, Marabou had to see what the museum was up to in 2018. … The British Museum, Part I: Positives