Taxpayers' money 'spent decolonising museums' because history written by 'white men'

24 April 2022, 23:14 | Updated: 24 April 2022, 23:52

Museums Development England works with specialist museums such as The National Glass Centre
Museums Development England works with specialist museums such as the National Glass Centre. Picture: Alamy

Taxpayers' money is reportedly being spent 'decolonising' museums in England which show history as being written by "white, wealthy, able-bodied men".

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Millions of pounds have been given by Arts Council England to advisory body Museum Development England, according to The Telegraph, with help needed with "equality and inclusion".

Guidance given by Museum Development to attraction bosses is said to show there can be "racist narratives" and "implicit racism" in museums because the history they cover has been mainly written by "white men".

The material was reportedly shared as part of new equity and inclusion training programme for managers.

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The guidance says: "History is written by the winners and in Europe and the British Empire, the winners tend to have been white, wealthy, able-bodied men.

"There is a call to 'decolonise' museums to address their implicit racism (and sexism and ableism).

"The artificial concept of race has been the foundation of further theories that have aimed to justify the oppression of people who are not white.

"This creation of a narrative of inferiority has taken part, sometimes subtly, in social and cultural institutions.

"Racist narratives and assumptions, therefore, inevitably underlie the creation of many museum collections and how they have been interpreted."

Museums Development typically works with small-scale, specialist attractions, including museums dedicated to cricket and knitwear, to help them become officially accredited by Arts Council England.

The Yorkshire Cricket Museum, The Postal Museum in London, the The Hovercraft Museum on the Solent, the National Glass Centre, and the Isle of Wight Bus and Coach Museum are among those currently seeking accreditation.

It receives £3 million a year from the publicly funded Arts Council.