Museums are places with their own microclimate where common problems do not apply. People are visiting them to take break from everyday routine and get inspired. Getting deeper into that matter, considering museums ’history and exhibitions that are taking place in them, we will discover how wrong is that argument.

 “One of the greatest myths about the museum is that it is an oasis of calm untouched by the storms of politics and history. Nothing could be further from the truth.” (Shubert, 2000, p.11).

Nowadays, very fortunately for us, museums are free of charge and accessible to everyone. There are no restrictions and anytime we want, we can go and feed our eyes with surrounding art. However back in time in the XVIII century (when the British museum has been established), even though the access was still free, the word ‘everyone’ had different meaning.‘Everyone’ was restricted to White, affluent men and did not include the black community or other ethnicities. Women were only allowed when accompanied by a man and museums were first and foremost open to people respected and of well standing. This picture changed just at the beginning of the XIX century with “The Representation of the People Act 1918” for the women [1];coloured people are still fighting for their rights in some countries.

The Tate one of the most famous museums in England was established in 1889 by Henry Tate. Henry Tate built his fortune on sugar refiner called ‘Tate & Lyle’. The money was made by ‘profits generated by the slaves who toiledand died at the Codrington estate in Barbados’. Many people are unmindful of the back story behind this sugar-art empire with bittersweet blood foundation[2]. Maybe is worth sparing a thought for those who lost their lives, so we can peacefully enjoy this sanctuary of art.


[1] https://advisor.museumsandheritage.com/features/women-power-struggle-womens-suffrage-uk/

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/sugar-in-the-blood-a-familys-story-of-slavery-and-empire-by-andrea-stuart-7873064.html

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