Monday, January 25, 2010

Burns Night Greetings

Looting Matters sends good wishes to its readers for Burns Night.

This raises an issue. Is there a museum that celebrates the cultures of the British Isles? The British Museum is an encyclopedic museum for world cultures. Is there a case for displaying archaeological material found in Scotland in (say) London?

Or should objects found north of the border be displayed in Edinburgh ... or Glasgow ... or Inverness ... or Stornoway.

So should the Lewis Chessmen be returned to Scotland? And if so, where should they be displayed? And what if they belong, at least in cultural terms, to Scandinavia?

There is something to discuss after consuming the "Great chieftain o' the puddin-race". (LM celebrated last week.)

Isleornsay sunset © David Gill.

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1 comment:


The British Museum, above all,a British institution that is intended to serve the British public whose taxes support that gargantuan institution. It is true that under Macgregor, some are even beginning to forget that this museum is more British than most institutions in London. Attempts by MacGregor to present the museum as a world or universal museum, which it is not, should not deceive anyone that it is an institution founded by an Act of the British Parliament. Universal or world institutions are not founded by national acts of a particular State. Repetitions by MacGregor that London is the centre of world cultural affairs should not mean that other parts of the world, including Scotland, are excluded from the mandate of the British Museum. Contradictions about what the British Museum is for will increase in due course when MacGregor and his supporters begin to tell more unconvincing stories about the artefacts in that museum. Scotsmen and Scotswomen as well as Scottish culture are clearly not excluded from the mandate of a museum that pretends to serve the whole world.


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