The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Human remains

That last post has made me think about the issue of displaying human remains in museums. Personally, it's something I'm not very comfortable with. Apart from the ghoulish aspect (eek! A dead body!), I feel it's very disrespectful. Blame it on my church schooling! ;)

I remember visiting the Egyptian galleries at the BM a few years ago, already feeling a tad apprehensive (that scene, where all the mummies awaken from 'The Mummy Returns' was playing on my mind!), and coming across a frankly disturbing scene: A group of tourists crowded around a case, having photos and taking video of a body mummified naturally in sand...and smiling...and making V signs. It upset me. It didn't seem appropriate.

I would have no problems with being dug up in the distant future and studied, providing I was quietly re-interred somewhere and left in peace after my bones had revealed their secrets, to benefit understanding of culture and society in the twenty-first century. I would not want to either i) spend eternity being gawped at in a museum or, ii) sitting in a box on a shelf in a storage unit.

These things bother me!! I can't be the only one...

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