Thursday, 13 August 2020

Museums Reassessed Due to Lockdown?

Martha Gill 'Museums’ grip on stolen goods is loosening' (Times August 12 2020) points out that the success of virtual tours shows that institutions are running out of excuses over the restitution of colonial artefacts

It’s perhaps one of the stranger successes of lockdown. Museums are opening up virtual galleries online and visitors are turning up to nip around them. Strange because “virtual museum” would be one way to describe what the internet does already. It certainly seems to defeat the purpose of painstakingly gathering objects together in the same building. Still, it has worked so well that someone has taken the concept to its logical conclusion. Voma, the world’s first “fully interactive virtual museum” opens on Friday. It will cherry-pick the best exhibits from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Moma in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. All without the bore of having to dust them.

So basically all that encyclopedic museum guff that the BM and Cuno and others were once banging on about is being sidestepped.  Then of course is the other issue, museums really are not all that educational any more. That's not the way they are treated by the majority of its audience, and its not the way it is treated by those that run them and try to provide an attractive service for the publ;ic. So, as Ms Gill points out, despite their protestations, no priceless knowledge will be lost if they send all that colonial stuff back.



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