"In fiction, the principles are given, to find the facts: in history, the facts are given, to find the principles; and the writer who does not explain the phenomena as well as state them performs only one half of his office."
Thomas Babington Macaulay, "History," Edinburgh Review, 1828
Friday, December 24, 2010
Museums and Archaeology: From Pillage to Partnership
An intriguing idea: given that many museums--notably and recently, the Getty, for example--have been caught dealing in stolen goods or artifacts of dubious provenance, the author suggests that museums once again undertake their own archaeological expeditions in search of items for collections. In the bad old days, of course, it was done through sheer hubris, colonialism, and pillage. Nowadays, with laws protecting cultural patrimony and regulating exports in place, such undertakings would occur in partnership with local authorities. In a truly collaborative relationship, both parties would benefit.