When I listened to the recent lecture by Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum on the 250th anniversary of the museum, I was, at least at the beginning, very relieved. (1) I thought, finally we have the director of the museum, an avid apostle of the “universal museum”, who was recently made a saint by the British press (2), admitting openly in the museum, (or is it now a temple?) that his institution is British and actually the first important institution to have in its title, the word “British”. This came in a time British workers were also asserting their nationalism. The history of the British Museum as traced by the director clearly indicated that the museum was established by a British Parliamentary Act for the British people. I heard in the lecture phrases such as
“centrally and quintessentially British”, “first public institution to be called British”, “oldest British organization” and all this was said to be “true today”.
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