An example of the new thinking to address perceived imperial connections to science was a paper penned by a curator and shared with staff, which claimed “science, racism, and colonial power were inherently entwined”.
The work further argues that “museums were put in place to legitimise a racist ideology”, that “covert racism exists in the gaps between the displays”, and as a result collections need to be decolonised.
The executive board of the museum is understood to be “very engaged with the many issues and questions it highlights”.
Legacies that may fall foul of the shift in opinion might be the exotic birds of Darwin and Captain Robert Fitzroy, as their shared journey to South American was “enable greater British control” of the region, according to the paper shared with staff.
Especially since, you know, Britain never did colonise nor control the region? Latin America remaining Latin. Other than British Guyana which is at the other end of that very continent.
There could also be calls for specimens gathered by Sir Joseph Banks to be addressed, as the botanist sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavor voyage in the service of the British Empire.
We’re getting to a corollary of pecunia non olet here. Stuffed birds are stuffed birds. How and why we got them is vastly less important than the fact we have them.