The distortion of British history

The British Museum has announced the appointment of a curator to study the history of its own collections. On the face of it, nothing could be more anodyne. The history of collecting has been a fashionable topic in academic circles for decades. What sort of people collected, why, and how, tells us much about their cultural assumptions and their ways of seeing the world. It would be mildly surprising that the BM has been so slow to catch on – except that there seems more to it than scholarly pursuit of knowledge. While the research will indeed cover ‘wider patterns’ of collecting, the Museum announced that it is ‘likely that

The Florence Nightingale museum has been abandoned

The Florence Nightingale Museum is unwell. Just as the government announced that Nightingale hospitals were being ‘reactivated’ to cope with the surge in coronavirus cases, the museum’s Director David Green also had something important to say. To prevent the museum becoming financially insolvent, their galleries are closing indefinitely. Any attempt to reopen in the coming months would just be ‘prolonging the inevitable’. I hope the Prime Minister is aware of this irony. He’s certainly keen to highlight the Lady with the Lamp’s legacy. The museum is housed at St Thomas’ Hospital directly over the river from Westminster, and on the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth her image was projected in