April 16, 2012
Clearly, the British Museum is called that, because it’s a national museum, located within Britain. But beyond that, there’s not a lot of logic to the name.
It has been pointed out many times in the past, by many different people, that the British Museum is not really very British. That is to say, that not much of the stuff on display is actually from Britain. You have to really look to spot the exhibits from Britain, amongst all the artefacts taken from other places around the world. In this sense, it is more a museum of British imperialism, than it is one of modern Britain.
From my point of view, many of the artefacts there are legitimately acquired – however, the vague descriptions on the information panels next to them give you little idea of the real stories behind the acquisition of many of the items in their collection.
A pilgrim’s progress
From the Newspaper | M.J. Akbar | 2 days ago
THE British Museum should, in all propriety, be renamed the British Empire Museum. The largest repository of human genius is a magnificent tribute to three centuries of commercial and political power.
The Empire and its diaspora had three overlapping shores: lands that were directly ruled; regions under domination (hence Dominions) and an arc of grip sanctified by treaty (as in the Indian or Malaysian princely states) or justified by gunboat diplomacy (as in China).
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