Showing posts with label museum policies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label museum policies. Show all posts

Monday, June 23, 2008

world cultural heritage 2: musée du quai branly

one of the museums not permitting the taking of pictures is the (new french prestige) musée du quai branly, which shamelessly presents extremely valuable religious/shamanistic tribal art works from africa, asia, polynesia, and the americas... shamelessly you say, why do you use that word frank? well, because one cannot help but wonder where all these incredible art works came from, and how they were acquired. and even if they are in need of protection and conservation, why they are not in the respective national museums of the countries of origin. [the same question irrevocably pops up when visiting the louvre, and seeing the enormous amount of egyptian art which i believe was largely simply carted off during 19th and early 20th century by the french. why not give it back to egypt?]

so, the art works having most likely been taken away from peoples not capable of protecting their national cultural heritage, the museum also actively obstructs these peoples and the rest of the world in acquiring images of these art works.

are these not mankinds collective treasures? are these not meant for as wide a dissemination as is possible? shame, musée du quai branly.

man, wood, african 19-20th century

man, wood, african, 19-20th century (did not write down the details, sorry)

world cultural heritage: taking pictures in museums

in several important museums containing critical elements of world cultural heritage, it is forbidden to take pictures. the only sensible explanation for this is that the museum wants to exploit its collection even further by selling photographs in the museum shop.

also, in many of these museums, we are talking about art from centuries and centuries, deplaced from its original country (often robbed/stolen/looted in the days of colonialism).

i find myself increasingly angered by such museum policies.

from what does the museum, which is almost always publicly funded, derive its right to limit access to the imagery of its collection to those fortunate enough to be able to travel to the museum?

you can argue that other people can look at photographs in books, but the point is that most of these works cannot be found in books, or only very poorly photographed.

it is an example of closed source, where money and power motives of a few win out over benefit for all. shame on these museums. and shame on us for letting our legislation permit them to act like this.