Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The British Museum: just saying no (to cultural theft)

Everyone in class is tickled by the fact that the British Museum is older than the United States. And everyone in class is outraged about much it owns and how it "loans" (ha!) stuff back to countries and communities of origin. 

We prepped for our visit by reading lots of poems linked to artifacts at the museum. Some of what we read:
W.B. Yeats “The Second Coming” 
Thomas Hardy “In the British Museum” 
Daljit Nagra "Hadrian's Wall" 
George the Poet “The Benin Bronze” 
John Keats “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” 
Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ozymandias”
Seamus Heaney “Punishment”

Then we waded through museum studies videos and articles to work our way around themes of cultural appreciation, appropriation, colonial theft, etc. At our visit, I polled the group to see if they thought we ought to--as the museum suggests--make a donation. They went with "Hell no!" 

Pic: Under the beautiful dome of the British Museum today.
 

5 comments:

Sarah said...

Oh how fun!! I bet traveling with young smart people is a total blast.

StephLove said...

Sounds like it's going to be an interesting trip and that you're hitting the ground running.

Nicole said...

There is a podcast called Stuff the British Stole - I have only listened to one or two episodes but wow, the British stole SO MUCH!!!

maya said...

Sarah, it is... and yet also, I'm ready to be home already!
StephLove, I had a long time to plan this.
Nicole and NGS--thanks so much for the rec!!!

GIllian said...

Nice sentiment.

last day/first day

And that's a wrap on classes until August. There are exams and meetings next week and task forces that will meet through the summer and ...