Where should we stand on the replica debate?

After the misfortune that befell the Cutty Sark recently from arsonists, here is an interesting article in the Guardian about whether or not it should be restored to 'how it was' ... however there is some disagreement over whether it should be as a 'landlocked museum' or as a working ship, which would restore its context and enable it to be used.


I for one am content to argue for the latter. As the article points out much of the ship has been damaged beyond repair so it effectively has to be rebuilt. So why not go the whole hog and rebuild it completely so that it becomes a working ship?


Amy said…
He's jolly scathing of museologists isn't he?! I dunno. I've actually never been to the Cutty Sark (despite it being quite related to my research area), so I don't really feel that I can comment. What I do know about it is that there was a collection of associated artefacts on display in the ship, which would be difficult to reconcile with a sea-going vessel. In that sense it is very much in the tradition of the display of the Chinese trading vessel 'Keying' on the Thames in the mid-nineteenth century -though, as far as I'm aware that was still a sea-worthy ship. And the Victory in Portsmouth for that matter, or - bringing it up to date, HMS Belfast. Certainly having the ship in dry dock makes it more accessible and probably easier to manage from the health & safety perspective. To be honest I know nothing of it's history, so there could be a very good reason why it has been displayed as it has been. I should find out more...

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