Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Museums should be places where we celebrate the human experience, rather than dwelling on all the nasty stuff. This is the gist of an op-ed piece by Tiffany Jenkins in The Independent. I'll let you mull over her thesis yourself. It does raise an interesting point, I guess, about why museums preserve stuff; if the sole purpose of the collection is to memorialize, is it really a museum? It also raises questions of balance - how can the moral certainty required for a memorial co-exist with a balanced, dispassionate consideration of history? But I ended up being much more interested by the author's home institution. Dr. Jenkins works for the Institute of Ideas, which is not to be confused with the Ideas Institute. Puts me in mind of the People's Front for Judea and the Judean People's Front. The Ideas Institute shows what happens when Marxists go Libertarian, and the results are predictably hilarious. I had a great deal of fun reading their 21 Pledges for Political Progress - for example #20 says "direct state funding of health to biomedical research into cures, the latest drugs and equipment, rather than punitive campaigns to change individual behaviour, in the interests of public health and good cheer." In the light of my previous post, this is something that I would be all in favor of.