The Easel

16th July 2024

Can the Museum Survive?

Is the debate about restitution turning into a museum “crisis”? Museums were a response to public curiosity about the “trophy art” arriving from newly colonised territories. Their social licence is now under attack, and not just because of restitution. Are these institutions obsessed with “identity politics”? Are they even necessary? Why not re-imagine them as cosmopolitan places where cross-nation cultural linkages can be explored. The British Museum, a bête noir in this debate, claims to be just that.