open question: are museums “good”?

im thinking about it and there are some benefits (and i like museums) but nah no probably not

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@soft Museums are wrapped up in a lot of cultural theft and money laundering via overvaluing art BUT they are still really good at "hey here's some cool stuff."

@soft yes, but only if they are about history and the formal preservation of like, stories n science.... not like, showcasing stolen human remains and items or displaying boring ass racist fuckass bootlicking artwork 🖼

@soft yes. plenty of individual museums have done bad things but museums as a whole? truly an amazing unique sort of learning happens there than just like. doesnt happen at other sorts of places. its so late at night but i would love to talk about this more tomorrow. i love museums.

@torie i feel that. i would love to hear more of your thoughts on them later!

@soft stealing cultural artifacts, exotifying other cultures: bad

teaching people about science and history, doing actual cultural exchange, fostering local art: good

@soft theres a museum of japanese-american culture in town, it is curated by members of the community and they have exhibits on the history of japanese internment in california and the greater history of the local japanese-american community, and they do exhibitions of contemporary crafts and art produced by the community. i think all of that is unquestionably good

@soft Yes conceptually, no in many cases
As others have mentioned too many of them are a product of looting and not genuine cultural preservation
Imagine, say, a museum in England that showcases artifacts from across the history of England, from the iceni to the Saxons to the Romans and on, but without having stuff that's stolen from Greeks and Kenyans and Egyptians and Indians, etc...

@soft some people have already chimed in with the same opinion, but yes, and so are zoos. it is more than feasible to have them without committing immoral acts like cultural theft or mistreatment of animals (in zoos cases) and they are incredibly valuable ways to teach people about the world, both in their own area and outside of it

@soft i am likely biased because my city has both a free zoo and a free art museum and they are both fantastic. great places to take kids to help them get interested in things and understand the world better

@soft I think museums that run on replicas and/or voluntary submissions would be fine

like getting to see statues and stuff from world cultures is cool, especially if they have those little cards that give context for the work, and I'm not gonna be bummed out if I'm told this particular chunk of stone wasn't pulled straight from the side of a temple in india

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