Saturday, 27 December 2014

Ancient Culture, Shellfish and Pissing Monkeys


Silly brain rot set in a museum
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The first floor of the American Museum of Natural History still reeked of smoke when the museum’s emergency team swept in to assess the damage from a fire that forced the evacuation of some 4,000 people. The Dec. 12 fire, sparked when heat from a worker’s torch ignited a filter in an exterior ventilation unit, pumped soot and smoke into the museum’s oldest exhibition hall, the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians. Then two sprinklers came on, splashing some totem poles and display cases filled with ceremonial masks, tools and other irreplaceable artifacts.
Eh? Is this still 1899, with museums displaying White-supremacy-enhancing trophies, or are we now in the twenty-first century? According to a well-known online encyclopaedia:
Natural history is the research and study of organisms including plants or animals in their environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. [...] the systematic study of any category of natural objects or organisms.
Native Americans are not animals like shellfish and monkeys. But it seems it's urinating monkeys that the museum sees as a great asset in the struggle to get ordinary people into the US capital's museums over the "holiday" (they mean Christmas) period:
Adding to the pressure: The latest film in the “Night at the Museum” movie franchise, which has boosted holiday attendance at the museum, was scheduled to hit theaters on Dec. 19.
Oh, oh well, that means they'd just  have to get the 'natural history exhibits' spick and span, we cannot have the curated cultural trophies looking shabby and covered in soot and water if these are visitors coming, can we? I would think the conservators should be getting over to the WSJ journalists that the "pressure" should rather be to effect the long-term preservation of the items curated in the museum rather than meeting some short-term aim of synchronising activity with a film release. How shallow can cultural institutions get?
 

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