Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Pitt Rivers Museum

Housed in a building directly behind the Museum of Natural History, The Pitt Rivers Museum is Oxford University’s Anthropology and World Archaeology Collection. It’s an impressive building, and an impressive collection, but it made me feel more than a little uncomfortable. 

The whole thing reeks of imperialism. There really isn’t enough room for all of the objects, resulting in jam packed cabinets that give the impression of ‘hey, look at all this cool shit we brought back from other countries.’ I have no doubt that all recent objects were ethically acquired, but I'm also sure some of the items on exhibition would cause offense to the peoples whose history they represent. I mean, there's a cabinet of shrunken heads! Surely that's not OK!

The third floor is an extensive collection of weaponry and armour. My inner Shannon was very excited by it all.

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