Untold Histories of Empire

Heath, Deana ORCID: 0000-0003-2304-6266 and Martin, Emma
Untold Histories of Empire. [Show/Exhibition]

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What can objects reveal about the motivations behind and impact of Britain’s conquest and colonisation of a quarter of the world’s peoples – or that of similar acts by other European states? Or about the legacies of such acts, not just on the peoples colonised, but on ‘us’ as well? And why don’t British museums, which are packed full of objects looted or stolen through empire, or obtained through unequal power relations, deal with the problematic origins of such objects in their displays – or seek to return such objects to their rightful owners? It is such questions that drive my project, 'Untold Histories of Empire', a collaboration with World Museum, for this year’s Being Human Festival. The project involves a range of activities, including tours on what empire was and how it operated and the imperial histories of objects in the museum. They also include a public debate on whether National Museums Liverpool should return objects taken from originating communities during empire and a debate among University of Liverpool students on how both British museums and universities should address difficult histories to do with empire. The main feature of the project, however, is a trail that museum visitors are invited to explore, between November 14 and 23, on the imperial and colonial histories of objects in the museum’s collection (assisted, on November 15, 16, 22 and 23 by University of Liverpool History students). The objects range from natural history ‘specimens’ to human remains (namely an Egyptian ‘mummy’), and from a knife with a handle carved from a tiger’s bone to three sculpted heads severed from ancient Buddhist monasteries in what is today northwest Pakistan.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Uncontrolled Keywords: empire, museums, history, objects, violence
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 14:38
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:27
Open Access URL: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/history/blog/2019/unto...
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URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3104703