Monday, November 16, 2009

Back to the dark ages

Some Maori bones are being given back to New Zealand by the Museum of Cardiff today.

From what they were it seems that they were collected for scientific study, rather than as pure trophies as was so much of our national museum (particularly ethnographical) collections stock. The rights and wrongs of this particular exchange does not concern me greatly. They had never been on display, and nobody seems to know if they had ever been studied which suggests not.

However the comments by Mike Houlihan the Director General of the Museum of Wales sent shivers down my spine,
"Science may have been the reason human remains were brought to the museum, but that's not as important as the human spirit or honouring and respecting ancestors."
Science is not more important than what! Surely science is in many ways the human spirit distilled. To honour our ancesters by standing on their shoulders, to learn and understand more about ourselves and the earth and the unviverse is, to me and anybody of a rational disposition the very epitome of the human spirit. To pander to emotionalism like this creates a real threat to our rationalist heritage.

Not least as the chap is also Chairman of the British chapter of the International Council Of Museums.

1 comment:

banned said...

Anyone fancy collecting up all the relics of the bones of Christ and shipping them back to Jerusalem ?