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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Faith that is set in stone: Jehovah's Witnesses and The British Museum

Here's just the sort of article that lays bear all my hypocrisies!

On the one hand I am an passionate advocate of enabling multivocal interpretations of objects and exhibitions...until the thorny question of religion and, in particular, fundamentalist religion rears its (ugly) head. At the very least it makes me intensely uneasy (even if the tours described in the article are raising significant sums of money for the museum). The whole venture is certainly discordant with the Enlightenment values the museum symbolises, as the journalist notes.

With one hand I wish to destroy the modernist museum and everything it stands for. And with the other I jealously seek to preserve it. I'm a mess of contradictions!

3 comments:

tom sheepandgoats said...

I followed the link. And posted a comment. (or tried to...did it register?)

But since I found it through your site, here is the comment:

"Ah, well.

World conditions progressively worsen. We hear of people who decline to bring children (what instinct is more natural?) into such a world. We hear religious and non-religious people alike listing various scenarios in which human life might not survive (or at least thrive).

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest that God, if he exists, might not be pleased with the mess people have made and want to do something about it.

A lot of museum pieces bring certain Bible passages and even prophesies to light. I'm not so sure what's wrong with pointing that out. No one's saying that there aren't others who disagree.

In all candor, could the real issue here be simply a dislike for the religion?.... "who needs physical proof for a fundamental belief?" ....Isn't that a little condescending? And not especially true. JWs will usually maintain their faith is not blind but is explainable."

An interesting post. Thanks.

Ceri said...

I am interested in how these tours came about... surely the British Museum sanctions them but then it begs the question, do they allow other religions to do tours and use the objects to back up their own meanings? I found the article rather obscure in that respect.

Amy said...

Yep, that's a good question!