I have very complicated feelings about museums. I love the British Museum’s eclectic wonders, but it’s a museum built on the theft of valuable and spiritual/religious artefacts, the pilfering of dead bodies, and all the other things that people have felt entitled to do and take because colonialism is a hell of a drug. I feel like I at least have a responsibility to think about it, so books like this are a great opportunity to do so.
It’s not a book all about how this and that was stolen, but a book about how we can respond to that. It discusses some of the responses people have created that reflect on colonialism, and the degrees to which they’re successful, as well as discussing some of the older art and objects and how they’re presented to people — sometimes with context, sometimes with misleading context, and sometimes without comment.
It’s a fairly easy book to dip in and out of a chapter at a time, and I found it pretty enjoyable. I did have to keep looking up images and photos to get the full context, because any images were not great on my ereader’s screen. I don’t know how good they are in a printed copy of the book.