Tag: museums

Can the British Museum change?

February 11, 2022 4 Comments
Can the British Museum change?

The recent return to Nigeria of some of the Benin bronzes from collections across Europe has heightened the debate about ‘repatriating’ museum objects to the places from which they were illegally seized. The finely made bronze plaques and sculptures once adorned the royal palace in Benin City and were made over a lengthy period, from […]

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What are museums for?

December 4, 2021 3 Comments
What are museums for?

The 2021 Richard Burton Lecture in Swansea University was given this week by David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru (‘Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’, to give it its hyper-awkward formal name).  His title was ‘Do Welsh museums matter?’  It was a learned and a challenging talk, raising crucial questions about the role of […]

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Learning about Welsh history

November 12, 2021 6 Comments
Learning about Welsh history

Estyn has published a review of teaching Welsh history in schools, including specifically the teaching of BAME history.  It makes gloomy reading for anyone who believes that understanding where we are now in Wales, and where we might be in future, depend on a reasonable knowledge of how we got here. During the last twenty […]

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The memory of Sir Thomas Picton

August 23, 2019 7 Comments
The memory of Sir Thomas Picton

One of the many noxious elements making up the miasma of Brexiter thinking is exceptionalism.  The idea that Britain is naturally superior to other countries, and that it is strong enough to stand alone against every foe, has deep roots – much deeper than the Battle of Britain, so often trundled out by politicians.  If […]

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The Monmouthshire and Caerleon Antiquarian Association

October 13, 2018 2 Comments
The Monmouthshire and Caerleon Antiquarian Association

1   Origins and foundations The first local archaeological society in Wales, the Caerleon Antiquarian Association, was founded on 28th October 1847.  It owed its existence largely to the efforts of one man, John Edward Lee (1). Born in Hull in 1808, Lee worked from the age of sixteen in his uncles’ shipping office, but […]

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In search of 100 objects

September 30, 2018 1 Comment
In search of 100 objects

September 2018 has turned out to be a month of personal endings. Three weeks ago, after five and a half years of sporadic legwork, we finished the last mile of the Wales Coast Path. This week saw the publication of two books I’ve been working on for what seems almost as long, Wales in 100 […]

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The Powysland Club: its origin and early development

May 13, 2018 0 Comments
The Powysland Club: its origin and early development

1   Foundation The first county archaeological society in Wales was the Caerleon Antiquarian Association, founded in 1847 and renamed the Monmouthshire and Caerleon Antiquarian Association in 1857. It was twenty years before a second local archaeological society in Wales was founded, in 1867.  The gap is puzzling, especially when one considers that this period […]

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‘Civilisations’ and museums

May 7, 2018 0 Comments
‘Civilisations’ and museums

The big BBC series Civilisations has come to an end.  It was designed as a remake of – and a challenge to – the famous Kenneth Clark series Civilisation, first shown in 1969.  The challenge was directly reflected in the plural form of the new title.  While Clarke was concerned almost exclusively with ‘Western civilisation’ […]

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Dr Thurley crosses the border

January 28, 2018 10 Comments
Dr Thurley crosses the border

Last year Ken Skates AM, then the Cabinet member responsibility for culture, commissioned a museum director from London, Dr Simon Thurley, to make recommendations on the running of the National Museum of Wales.  (Technically the Museum’s latest English title is Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, a clumsy formulation which shows what trouble you get […]

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