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Museums: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

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  • 게시일 2022. 10. 01.
  • John Oliver discusses some of the world’s most prestigious museums, why they contain so many stolen goods, the market that continues to illegally trade antiquities, and a pretty solid blueprint for revenge.
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댓글 • 0

  • Rhov Anion
    Rhov Anion 년 전 +3870

    I studied Native American Anthropology under a Cherokee professor, and one of the things she was involved with (a side hustle, you could say) was seeking to get stolen Native artifacts out of museum basements and back with the tribes. In one case, the museum was being stubborn that "you can't prove we stole this," so my professor tracked down the granddaughter of the woman who made the item (I think it was a ceremonial bead robe or shawl). This tribal elder explained the little tricks her grandmother used that literally no one could have known, things even the museum didn't notice until they inspected even closer, family trade secrets she still used and had taught to her own grandchildren. She made it more than abundantly clear, this belonged to her family.
    Back in the 1800s, her village was raided and her grandmother gangraped by White men. They ran off with anything they thought looked valuable. This included some of the young girls, livestock, head dresses, furs, and her beadwork outfits. So not only was it stolen, but in a really horrific manner. The museum had bought the majority of their Native American artifacts off a group of rapists.
    That was not the type of publicity they wanted, so they gave it back. This old lady wore her grandmother's robe at the next dance ceremony. All of this was around 20 years ago, so I hope her grandkids still wear that outfit at ceremonies.

    • aceous99
      aceous99 년 전 +68


    • MasterCommandCEO
      MasterCommandCEO 년 전 +57

      Probably lost in a box somewhere instead of being shown to the public. What idiots the museum was

    • Schalla1641
      Schalla1641 년 전 +148

      @PlaceboJesus "well we could have been worse" is a very bad excuse when talking about cultural - and actual - genocide tho
      also two wrongs don't make a right? yes it's horrible native americans killed some of your family, but that doesn't excuse theft, murder and gangrape and it isn't an excuse to not try to right the wrongs of the past.
      i mean both as a general rule. i don't think europeans are especially cruel or evil. just don't make excuses because you're uncomfortable with your ancestor's history.

  • mythology2467
    mythology2467 10 개월 전 +2231

    My mum who is a chronic fox news watcher was still unsure after this and it only took a "imagine if the lady of lourdes statue of Mary was sawn off at the feet to be put on display in Kenya, how livid you and all of fox news would be" to get her to understand how not ok all of this is.

    • The Ultimate Rental
      The Ultimate Rental 9 개월 전 +89

      Karen sounds like a real treat to be around

      GALAKTOAST 9 개월 전 +331

      @The Ultimate Rental We don't choose the quality of our own family unfortunately, but we can decide the quality of their retirement home.

    • The Ultimate Rental
      The Ultimate Rental 9 개월 전 +33

      @GALAKTOAST lmao!

    • Family Kaplan
      Family Kaplan 9 개월 전 +5


    • Lilyth
      Lilyth 9 개월 전 +17

      @GALAKTOAST LOL! I love this.

  • Shirley777
    Shirley777 9 개월 전 +2004

    I like the idea of museums returning original objects, but also displaying reproductions. I like even better the idea of having craftspeople in the originating countries create reproductions for museums. That way it supports the continuation of the original crafts, and improves understanding of the cultural significance of the objects. But only if the craftspeople are decently paid for their work, which should go on display, not be kept in a box in storage.

    • PrograError
      PrograError 9 개월 전 +84

      there definitely need to be a industry of art reproductions, as well as international repatriation "agency" to link up with the originals and facilitate sharing and other stuff

    • Kehy Crawford
      Kehy Crawford 9 개월 전 +32

      @PrograError I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, art reproductions of almost every type are available, particularly without the artist's consent

    • Helena Tomé
      Helena Tomé 9 개월 전 +4

      You are joking, aren't you?

    • Paw Small
      Paw Small 9 개월 전 +12

      This sounds so condescending. Artefacts created in the past, of which the context where in they were created isn't possible to recreate, should be returned to their original people, period. They shouldn't need to do all these other things you want them to do. Go recreate your own historical artefacts if you think it's so important.

  • Arrianne Arrianne
    Arrianne Arrianne 9 개월 전 +899

    This is so funny because me and my boyfriend was just at the Natural History Museum in London where there were corals that were labelled, "Corals illegal smuggled from the Philippines". My boyfriend being British (I'm Filipino) said, "I can't believe they would just snitch on themselves like that."

    • PrograError
      PrograError 9 개월 전 +41

      well... at least they were being truthful and upfront... unlike a certain legacy of certain countries... well... that's gonna poke lots of hole in lots of sensitive places.

    • Aii Eeee
      Aii Eeee 9 개월 전 +56

      Recently saw an item whose origin was labelled “France, probably.” Where? You guessed it. The British Museum.

    • ethelmini
      ethelmini 9 개월 전 +8

      Seems reasonable, if they were confiscated. They could hardly be restored, displaying them obviously raised awareness & hopefully discourages people from buying coral.

    • ethelmini
      ethelmini 9 개월 전 +3

      @Aii Eeee So? You going to tell us what it was, unless you do we won't know if there's any significance. France hasn't always been France.

  • S C
    S C 8 개월 전 +625

    You have no idea how many museums and artifacts have ended up returned because of this episode. It's so amazing what someone with a platform can actually do just by telling a true story.

    • hummusdifier
      hummusdifier 7 개월 전 +56

      If you don't mind, could you expand on this? I'd be really interested to know what has been returned.

    • Mononymous M
      Mononymous M 7 개월 전 +25

      @hummusdifier Agreed, I'd really like to hear more from the OP about this.

    • FLdancer00
      FLdancer00 7 개월 전 +8

      Do you have any idea?

    • kate larouche
      kate larouche 7 개월 전 +35

      Zero. The number is zero.

    • D Sandoval
      D Sandoval 7 개월 전 +78

      ​​@FLdancer00 Well, she wasn't wrong. We _don't_ know how many artifacts were returned because of this episode.

  • Aii Eeee
    Aii Eeee 9 개월 전 +378

    “You can’t judge us in the present based on what we did in the past” ok, but in the present you are openly choosing to keep items you know are stolen, and yes, we can absolutely judge you for that

    • RoyB
      RoyB 6 개월 전 +7

      No, you cant, because you live on stolen land yourself. If you never owned it, nor your parents or grandparents never owned it, you have no claim to it. This argument of perpetuity is idiotic.

    • Wil Cee
      Wil Cee 5 개월 전 +5

      @Skozerny cool story lady

  • Sunni Rae
    Sunni Rae 년 전 +14440

    Lets all appreciate that HBO puts all LWT episodes in almost their entirety for free on youtube without a shitton of ads.

    • IGcarism_atique clickmehh
      IGcarism_atique clickmehh 년 전 +173

      Its cuz not everyone can afford HBO or wants HBO, verrry admirable

    • László Márai
      László Márai 년 전 +327

      Well, I even have HBO (Max) and I still watch in on YT, because that's where most of the stuff I watch is. It's great that the important part is here and that it can get to so many people.

    • oqulus
      oqulus 년 전 +46

      you guys having ads?

    • James Galligan
      James Galligan 년 전 +17

      I’ve been saying that. It’s fantastic.

    • Inge Tuinman
      Inge Tuinman 년 전 +25

      Don't put thoughts in their head ;)

  • Himari Suzuki
    Himari Suzuki 5 개월 전 +93

    I love how the quote "if we said yes to one you'd soon find the British museum empty" is literally just them going mask off and saying "we won't give any of it back because we want money"

    • The Cold Hedgehog
      The Cold Hedgehog 3 개월 전

      It's a free museum. I don't think anyone who works there is particularly wealthy. It continues through donations.

    • TheArmaniCode
      TheArmaniCode 3 개월 전 +3

      ​@mynamesnotadam but a lot of people visit London just to visit the British museum. It brings in a lot of money through tourism

    • Himari Suzuki
      Himari Suzuki 3 개월 전 +2

      @The Cold Hedgehog nothing is ever technically free. The museum makes money somehow, otherwise it wouldn't stay open. There's got to be some sort of money incentive for them otherwise they wouldn't keep something that unnecessarily wastes funds.

    • The Cold Hedgehog
      The Cold Hedgehog 3 개월 전

      @himarisuzuki5208 I'm no expert in its funding, but you can become a member and pay a membership, donate money, use its over priced cafe, some exhibitions charge I think. But it's main source I would be the goverment funding. Maybe. I don't do their finances. Either way a lot of museums are free and it's because they provide a function which is to educate and exhibit the story

    • dev4freedom
      dev4freedom 개월 전

      I think it's about trust that artifacts will stay untouched and not in private hands. But obviously it doesn't make it ethical to limit access or even lending rights.

  • MasseyKY
    MasseyKY 9 개월 전 +339

    Seeing those Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people looking at their history that has been locked away in a basement is one of the saddest things I've seen in a long time.

    • TI99Kitty
      TI99Kitty 6 개월 전 +14

      And that shiteating grin on the guy that's showing those things to them was pretty infuriating.

    • Benjamin robinson
      Benjamin robinson 5 개월 전 +1

      Isn't it kind of odd they don't have those thing themselves though? Those items are literally things their not so distant ancestors owned. Why don't they have a plethora of them?

    • princesstriceestar
      princesstriceestar 5 개월 전 +10

      ​@Benjamin robinson If an item is scared or a family heirloom "making a new one" doesn't take away the lost memories.

  • clever username
    clever username 7 개월 전 +107

    Kumail absolutely crushed his bit in this, what a flawless performance 👏

  • misslieth
    misslieth 10 개월 전 +207

    AAAAAAND.... You can always opt to have temporary exhibitions, where you can lend items from somewhere else and then RETURN THEM. Besides, if you are genuinely soooooo worried about people caring for their own culture and historical items, you can always donate to their institutions as to help them have the proper resources.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 9 개월 전

      But one concern is whether some nations even have such institutions. I’m not saying they all do or they all don’t, but the _possibility_ exists for some of them to not be as dedicated to preserving their cultures.

    • None Gone
      None Gone 7 개월 전 +13

      @aycc-nbh72 It's not like these museums are inclined in any way to actually find out whether or not that applies to any of those nations.
      Just another excuse for rich people to hoard more stuff.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 7 개월 전

      @None Gone I mean, my country once tore down one of its more iconic railway stations to make way for a sporting arena, though a restoration of the old station was recently done by cannibalizing the post office building next door to the original station’s location. One of our oldest film studios was also demolished to make way for a theme park ride.
      A lack of care for historical value can and does exist at times, so it’s entirely possible that this phenomenon actually does exist.

    • None Gone
      None Gone 6 개월 전 +7

      @aycc-nbh72 Possible this phenomenon exists ≠ it actually happening.

  • Tim Stewart
    Tim Stewart 5 개월 전 +74

    I love the payback museum. I also note that the thieves simply write laws that call their actions legal, then seem surprised at their victims anger.

  • silver megaman
    silver megaman 년 전 +16948

    I once saw that someone said that the only reason Egypt still has the pyramids is that they were too big to be moved to Britain

    • Jock Jockin
      Jock Jockin 년 전 +262

      I saw it too😂

    • GorillaGuerilla🇺🇦
      GorillaGuerilla🇺🇦 년 전 +314

      And the living accommodations isn’t roomy enough for American or Russian Oligarchs….

    • MrSmiles9000
      MrSmiles9000 년 전 +471

      The tops of the pyramids were tipped with gold and i would not be surprised to find them in Britain or very possibly in the vaults of the Vatican.

    • quelodequelo
      quelodequelo 년 전 +93

      Or in Turin, Italy 😅 🙊

  • Jerry Jesseph
    Jerry Jesseph 7 개월 전 +344

    A number of years ago, our family visited the British Museum. While we were looking at the Rosetta Stone, my young son asked a guard, "Did you guys steal all this stuff?" The guard's reply was, "Well. I suppose we did."

    • SolarYard
      SolarYard 5 개월 전 +12

      This didn’t happen

    • Christopher Pacheco
      Christopher Pacheco 5 개월 전 +9

      And then everyone clapped.

    • Grant Hurlburt
      Grant Hurlburt 4 개월 전 +5

      The guard didnt know. The Rosetta Stone was found by a French Soldier when Napoleon had invaded Egypt. Very few people, including the local Egyptians, would have recognized what it was. It is astonishly valuable because it had a proclamation in Egyptian hieroglyphics and also in ancient Greek. The French scholar Champillion painstakingly worked out what the hieroglyphics meant. Britain received the stone as part of a treaty.

    • Patrik Modrovský
      Patrik Modrovský 4 개월 전 +4

      @Grant Hurlburt it was also used as part of wall
      if that solder though that he should leave it there, we would still have no clue, how to translate hieroglyphics

  • Syn TheWrathful
    Syn TheWrathful 9 개월 전 +421

    The motto of these Museum’s is essentially “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too. If you shake my hand better count your fingers.”

    • Tomato Fettuccini
      Tomato Fettuccini 9 개월 전 +29

      "And check your rings, watch, and wallet. Maybe look in on your wife and kids, too."

    • Ting Lee Hoong
      Ting Lee Hoong 9 개월 전

      This is worse than Communism LOL

    • Edriss Scofield
      Edriss Scofield 8 개월 전 +5

      Now THAT's a motto you can set your watch to

    • TheHawth
      TheHawth 8 개월 전 +4

      Did not expect a reference to friggin' Megadeth in the comments section of a Last Week Tonight video.

  • Tea&Choc
    Tea&Choc 10 개월 전 +295

    The problem is the world measures love by who pays the most money, rather than who really cherishes it in a priceless, non-monetized way. Poor people's love isn't able to compete with rich people's greed.

    • Nothing Really Matters
      Nothing Really Matters 9 개월 전 +5

      The British Museum is FREE to attend. So 6 million people a year from around the world get to see everything for free. The British taxpayer covers the massive cost of upkeep and protecting these artefacts.
      Most British people would be happy to close the museum and spend the money on the NHS.
      I d think that stolen artefacts should be returned but it is pretty incredible for Americans who stole their entire nation and continue to mass murder for colonialism and to steal wealth to attack a free museum.

    • Lynn
      Lynn 9 개월 전 +27

      @Nothing Really Matters omg its free???? Okay then stealing artifacts is completely fine then! And we all know anyone from a country with a horrible past can never criticise anyone or anything ever, thats just basic logic. Tahnks for your help my friend, the situation in now completely okay! /obviously sarcasm lmao

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 9 개월 전 +8

      @Nothing Really Matters that is some contortion. Lying about spending on the NHS is what fascists do.

    • Loxley Battle
      Loxley Battle 6 개월 전 +6

      A free museum in Britain is still only “free” for those who can afford to travel there.

    • Benjamin Strickland
      Benjamin Strickland 5 개월 전 +1

      Thanks for your comment. I was trying to conceptualize how wrong Solomon's Law was, but you clarified it for me. Love can't conquer greed in a monetized sense.

  • DrSuperKamiGuru
    DrSuperKamiGuru 10 개월 전 +177

    So you're saying that if rob a bank, it's fine as long as long as I turn turn my house into a museum and display all the stolen cash? I'm sure I could take better care of a hundred thousand dollars in small bills than the bank ever could.

    • ethelmini
      ethelmini 9 개월 전 +1

      Yes that would work. The money has no value that comes from whatever it's exchanged for. No exchange - no value, they could just print some more.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 9 개월 전 +1

      Nope.English are always exceptions.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 9 개월 전

      The irony is you are right. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

    • RoyB
      RoyB 6 개월 전 +2

      No, but if you store it in a museum for 200 years, then its reasonable that it is yours.

  • Adele Irvine
    Adele Irvine 9 개월 전 +70

    I wrote about the Parthenon marbles while sitting my higher English is school when I was 16 in 2014. Being Scottish and given the political goings on in Scotland that year I called our the hypocrisy of the whole thing by talking about the scottish stone of destiny. A bit of sandstone Scottish kings where crowned for centuries. Pinched by an English King in the late 13th century, was placed at the base of his throne and only officially returned in 1996, 700 years later. Now on display at Edinburgh castle. At least scotland didn't suffer the indignity of it getting referred to as "Edward's Stone."

  • Greg Hodges
    Greg Hodges 년 전 +2623

    One thing John didn't mention was how much more stolen art is hidden away in private collections. These people often have deeper pockets and less hesitation to acquiring art with a "dubious" ownership history.

  • Girlgamssilver Scratchin'
    Girlgamssilver Scratchin' 9 개월 전 +94

    I "love" how they all dance around word "stolen". The look on their faces almost made me cry.

    • You Me
      You Me 9 개월 전

      À la Museume

    • T Z
      T Z 9 개월 전 +5

      Technically they weren't stolen. They were robbed. The difference is when something is stolen, you don't know who did it.

    • RoyB
      RoyB 6 개월 전 +1

      The Marbles were bought.

    • Taxtro
      Taxtro 6 개월 전

      Almost all of this stuff was purchased or discovered by Westerners, while locals were at best uninterested and often actively disassembled the stuff - as it was the norm throughout most of history to reuse or sell old stuff.

    • dev4freedom
      dev4freedom 개월 전

      @Taxtro Be that as it may, you could consider to prefix your statement with acknowledgement of injustice and circumstances that forced many to sell, trade, give up. A lot of cases of taking advantage of people knowingly is stealing and would be judged by your christian peers but somehow that was excused. See the issue? Thanks for reading

  • Andrew D
    Andrew D 10 개월 전 +553

    I'm not convinced the artefacts are that important for the museums. If they replaced them with replicas I think people would still come, and they would have the same or great impact. After all Dippy is one of the most loved artefacts in a British museum and he's made of plaster, not stone and the Sutton Hoo replica helmet on display at the British Museum always seems to be more popular for people taking photographs than the rusty original on display next to it. Give back Elgin's Marbles and replace them with replicas of the full panels. Would be more impressive and gain some good will from countries we've oppressed. And while we're at it replica of King Tut's sarcophagus too please.

    • Jim Bob
      Jim Bob 10 개월 전 +36

      Yeah and they could make a big fuss over giving them back as well with displays about how wrong people acted in the past and how we've learned from our mistakes.

    • Tam rymer
      Tam rymer 10 개월 전 +3

      They’ll just say that they think the pieces are safer where they are.

    • Michael Pap
      Michael Pap 10 개월 전 +17

      These items are worth a lot of money. This is why they won't be returned.

    • Luke Kennedy
      Luke Kennedy 10 개월 전 +32

      Plus you can let people interact with replicas if it doesn't cost a crazy amount to make them.

  • AlyPiAlpha
    AlyPiAlpha 8 개월 전 +24

    The line “if you say yes to [giving back one artifact] you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty” is shockingly similar to what the evil mercenary guy said in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire before he tried to steal the city’s power source for a museum…

    • TheVenator
      TheVenator 4 개월 전 +3

      “Academics, you never want to get your hands dirty. Think about it. If you gave back every stolen artifact from a museum, you'd be left with an empty building! We're just, providing a necessary service to the archeological community.” - Lyle Tiberius Rourke, 1914

  • Katharine Eavan
    Katharine Eavan 10 개월 전 +51

    So my hometown's museum has a seat at the same big table as the British Museum and it does have a number of artefacts I'd question the provenance of, but their recent expansion, called the "Museum of Making", is actually another great argument as to why we should give people their shit back and take a better, less classist and racist look at our own.
    When people joke about the British Museum being empty if we gave back all the stolen shit in it, they overlook the fact that the only reason we think this is because we're used to museums being about rich people's stolen collections of "exotic" history instead of our actual history as a people.
    The Derby Museum of Making is housed in one of the first industrial age mills in the world. It holds exibits on the local area, the mill strikes, the symbols, materials, craftmanship and historic significance of Derbyshire's working class people from the industrial age to the present. And it is FULL of artefacts and interesting history. This is a whole freaking museum just about the residents of one English county (mostly one city) in the last couple of hundred years, and it is far from bloody empty!
    If we stop thinking of other cultures' histories and the histories of rich white landowners as the only history worth looking at, then we have a boatload of things to fill our museums with! If we start looking at the history of our working classes, our own craftsmanship and historical narrative that the traditional one loves to gloss over as being unimportant peasant stuff, then we open up so many important topics, artefacts and ideas that we currently ignore.
    EDIT to add: their original campus is still overwhelmingly about local history, and houses the sarcophagus of a British saint found in a local church, a viking longboat excavated here as well, a ton of other viking, roman and bronze age artefacts, and a gallery containing paintings by and of local people (albeit of the rich and white variety). There is, however, a small Egyptology exhibit and an exhibit housing artefacts from countries in Africa that I don't personally know the provenance of.

    • CarribeanMonkee
      CarribeanMonkee 9 개월 전 +2

      Similar to this - the Wigan Life museum has a significant portion dedicated to coal, because amidst the industrial revolution there were literall over a thousand coal pits in a 5 mile redius of the town center. Wigans coal powered the industrial revolution of North England, and the industrial revolution started in North England. It's so easy to delve into a regions specific history that the wider history of far off places really isn't necessary. Wigans museum isn't particularly grand or popular, but the Jorvik center in York, ostensibly a viking museum, is entirely based on the lives of viking people that settled British shores, and so serves as an even greater example.

    • Loxley Battle
      Loxley Battle 6 개월 전

      Excellent point

    • Yuri Sei
      Yuri Sei 3 개월 전

      Fact of the matter remains though that 50,000 years of global history *is* far more worth looking at than 200 years of Derbyshire history, and that's why the Derby Museum of Making is a lot smaller and a lot less popular than the British Museum.

    • Herne
      Herne 개월 전

      Why would you want a museum that just exhibits one cities industrial history though? You'd spend ten minutes in there and be bored to tears.
      Part of the appeal of a museum is that you get a slice of many different cultures and histories. That's what makes them interesting.
      Museums should cycle their exhibits around the world. That's the ideal. We should have an international board of higher learning that is in charge of fairly distributing cultural heritage to different museums across the globe. That way everyone gets to look and learn.
      But that won't happen, because they'd all end up in private collections or some museums would refuse to give up artefacts etc.
      The Elgin Marbles are a prime example of the retarded short sighted blame trend around this topic.
      Those statues wouldn't exist if Elgin hadn't recovered them. The bit of the story that no one mentions is that Greece was occupied by Turkey at that point in history. The same Turkey that had a history of destroying the cultural heritage of the countries it occupied. Elgin bought them from the Turks after they broke them off of the Parthenon.
      He was preserving them, not just looting for lootings sake.
      This whole demonise the west shit is getting fucking old.

    • Katharine Eavan
      Katharine Eavan 개월 전

      @Herne Firstly, if you actually have an interest in history and not stolen loot, the rise and fall of the industrial era, including but not limited to the way it impacted and was impacted by class and racial divides and the rising independence of women, the mill lockouts and the history of striking, the interplay with the slave trade, and how it all fundamentally changed the world, all shown through exhibits originating in your immediate area... Well, all that warrants a bit more than 10 minutes before you get bored.
      Secondly, this is England, love. Without the above building or the visiting exhibts, or even the stolen mummies, our local museum contains the intricately carved sarcophagus of a saint from the early middle ages, a viking longboat, stone age artefacts, tools, costumes, jewellery and pottery from the early 20th century all the way back to pre-roman conquest, art and from the last several centuries, some of which directly relates to or originates from contemporary artists, philosophers and scientists like Erazmus Darwin and Joseph Wright, and an entire room's worth of WWI and WWII artefacts including medals, weapons, trinkets, notebooks etc etc etc.... the vast majority from the immediate area and all of the above is from this county. Not country. County.
      Is it a great experience to see world history and culture displayed? Yes. Is it at all necessary to pillage other people's stuff to have a good museum? Only if the patrons have the attention span of an ADHD fruit fly and are more interested in shiny and exotic than actual history.

  • Jessica Thomas
    Jessica Thomas 2 개월 전 +4

    The first time I went to London from Australia, I couldn't stop laughing at how absurd and utterly oppressive the whole place is. From the weird stolen collections like a sphinx, a buddha and an obelisk on the side of the Thames amongst many other stolen antiquities in all of the museums and galleries. The funniest part is all of the massive statues that all look down at you throughout the whole city. The architecture really summed up the "old" British empire mentality. Oh and the other absurd side, the naughty boy humour, as in amongst the oppression, a Marks and Spencer in the centre of town had a cock and balls hedge display. London is all sorts of weird.

  • CaptMortifyd
    CaptMortifyd 11 개월 전 +1835

    "The difference between archaeology and looting is 50 years." - one of my anthropology professors explaining the fucked up providence arguments of museums.

  • dmisso42
    dmisso42 10 개월 전 +44

    John has one essential takeaway here.
    If the answer to a direct question is NOT "No" , it is instantly suspicious.
    Politicians take note!

    • Above Average Azzuen
      Above Average Azzuen 10 개월 전 +2

      Maybe also DON'T have the guy who looks like Shaggy's necrophile cousin with his deer in the headlights look be the guy you put on camera.... JUST SAYIN maybe there's a reason why they keep him in the back away from people

  • Paul McFadden
    Paul McFadden 5 개월 전 +5

    One of the most coherent arguments this show has ever made. Be proud of this piece of work.

  • xSKOOBSx
    xSKOOBSx 5 개월 전 +6

    Its so gross how often they default to the age old argument that "the law," which was written by thieves to legalize their plunder, is on their side. Really feels like "we were the aggressor, we stole it fair and square, and they couldn't do anything about it" wrapped up in a prim and proper facade, and feels very pompous.

  • Lynkowo
    Lynkowo 9 개월 전 +53

    let's not forget Yagans Head, was stored at the British museum. Yes his head, to depict Australian Aboriginal people to the British. He was an cultural elder, warrior.

    • Rachy
      Rachy 6 개월 전 +1

      And all the moko mokai from NZ!

  • Jessica Thomas
    Jessica Thomas 2 개월 전 +2

    My father worked at the museum in our town. All of the good stuff is hidden out of sight and is never shown to anyone despite our taxes paying for their storage. This is 100% true of all museums I have ever come across.

  • Wanax Digammes
    Wanax Digammes 년 전 +1536

    Fun fact about the Elgin Marbles: After the British Museum refused to return them on the grounds that Greece didn’t have a proper place to display them, they built the state of the art modern Acropolis Museum in Athens for the chief purpose of housing the Elgin Marbles. They still refuse to send them back. Also, when Lord Elgin was transporting the marbles to Britain, the ship they were on sank, and the marbles had to be salvaged from the ocean floor.

    • Daniel Panek
      Daniel Panek 년 전 +152

      This is like a caricature. A thief pulling a sled of stolen goods that tips over and they hurriedly addresses the situation before their victims can catch them

    • Chri Lin
      Chri Lin 년 전 +13

      It is truly very sad

    • ptosky
      ptosky 년 전 +312

      Please call them the Parthenon Marbles not "the elgin marbles". They were never his. Thank you. A greek person.

    • YAHUsha
      YAHUsha 년 전 +2

      Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the dead, and gives salvation to everyone who has faith in him. True faith in Jesus will have you bear good fruit and *drastically* change for the better! Those led by the Holy Spirit do not abide in wickedness.
      *God is ONE manifesting himself as THREE;* the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Bless him! *For these three are one.*
      As I am led by the Holy Spirit, nothing I state is a lie, but the truth of God. Anyone who tells you differently is misinformed or a liar. They do not know God, nor led by him.
      Anyone who *claims* to be a Christian and is against what I am doing, and where I am doing it; the Holy Spirit does not dwell within them, they lack understanding. They know not God, read his word, and their religion is in vain. Do not hear them, they will mislead you, the lost cannot guide the lost.

    • YAHUsha
      YAHUsha 년 전 +1

      When you trust in God and cast your cares (worries, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts) upon him, they will be NO MORE!
      Know that there is power in the name Jesus Christ! His name casts out demons and heals!
      The world is wicked, evil, and of the devil.
      I too, was a wicked sinner of the world before I opened my heart to God. I am living proof of God's work and fruitfulness! He is an active God who hears the prayers of his! God's children are set apart (holy) and righteous. The devil is a liar that comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy; that includes your relationship with God.

  • fearless kazu
    fearless kazu 9 개월 전 +63

    I have a book that was written in the 80's about whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned. (The author argued that they should.) So this argument has been going on for a long time. Just from these clips it's obvious that the missing pieces would look a lot more impressive as part of the original piece than as random isolated bits in a glass box.

    • BeadMeCreative
      BeadMeCreative 9 개월 전 +6

      I think the idea of repatriation is gaining more ground now among the general public, which is what’s more important. Especially since some museums have been repatriating some artefacts in the last 2 years.

    • N Fraser
      N Fraser 9 개월 전 +3

      Melina Mercouri had dedicated her life to returning all Greek originals.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 9 개월 전 +4

      PARTHENON. Stop naming them for the thief!!!!!

  • C.K.K.
    C.K.K. 9 개월 전 +13

    Former archivist (turning farmer) here. Thank you for bringing all of this up, it's essential. Could you maybe do a kind of part 2 about the environmental impact of archiving and museums? We are preserving ourselves to death.

    • Brian Twiss
      Brian Twiss 5 개월 전

      Why the hell would you give up being an archivist for being a farmer lol

    • C.K.K.
      C.K.K. 5 개월 전 +5

      @Brian Twiss you can't eat history

  • Bimmy
    Bimmy 6 개월 전 +5

    I love anthropology and learning about other cultures from museums, and I never really gave much thought to how fucked up the path those objects took to get there. Unbelievable proud as a half Scottish person that Aberdeen took steps to right their wrongs. Hopefully enough outrage can push other museums into the same position, sad as it is it has to come to that.
    Western colonizing and literal theft of artifacts is so wildly horrendous and makes me sick. I’m gonna start looking into stories of countries getting their art and history returned. 🙏❤️

  • Mr.Pixel
    Mr.Pixel 3 개월 전 +2

    You know, it really speaks to the quality of this show that you can just watch episodes of it again and again. Even if there already a good bit old.

  • Johann Brandstatter
    Johann Brandstatter 2 개월 전 +2

    One of the best programmes you ever presented John, amongst a very selective lot. Thank you ! As an art lover, this is really food for thought and could almost turn ones perceptions of art galleries and museums on its head. The truth it seems is never pleasant but it is essential for us to remain human.

  • Background Ambience
    Background Ambience 년 전 +2435

    This reminds me a lot of the Irish Giant Charles Byrne. He was 7' 7'' and he was so afraid of a collector or museum displaying his body when he died that he had his friends bury him at sea. Unfortunately, before his friends could follow through with their promise his corpse was stolen by a 'collector' and was eventually sold to the Royal College of Surgeons in London. It is still on display there over 200 years later despite efforts by activists for him to be buried. People with the same genetic condition as Byrne, who are from the same part of the country as him and probably share DNA have offered to donate their skeletons when they die so that Byrne can be released, but the museum has always refused.

    • ModernTimes36
      ModernTimes36 년 전 +496

      That is seriously horrifying

    • Katnip Bardot
      Katnip Bardot 년 전 +239

      That's absolutely awful & just so callous.

    • Kakuri .____.
      Kakuri .____. 년 전 +454

      To know that they would be so obsessive about 'collecting' him, he must have heard a bunch of super creepy comments about displaying his body while still alive.

    • Nishit Raj
      Nishit Raj 년 전 +87

      that's just horrible

    • Rain Man
      Rain Man 년 전 +82

      This is fucked up

  • Human Earthling
    Human Earthling 9 개월 전 +6

    Great episode! I often wondered about the ownership of cultural art pieces in museums and was really happy to find this topic discussed here. I love this show so much! You are the best!

  • Augustus
    Augustus 9 개월 전 +89

    I would laugh so much if the payback museum existed for real.🤣

    • Kur10usity
      Kur10usity 9 개월 전 +5

      I feel like crying because it isn't real.

    • Augustus
      Augustus 7 개월 전

      @Jamestown True but a**holes getting their own words/and actions thrown back into their faces is always funny.

  • All Things Addi
    All Things Addi 6 개월 전 +5

    As a college student studying library sciences (for rare books) and museum studies… this video made me cry.

  • Janelli Marie
    Janelli Marie 5 개월 전 +4

    The part I find most upsetting is that in American schools (unsure about European education), Africa’s history is constantly overlooked as though they lacked culture and society. Often as a way to excuse and justify colonialism and slavery.
    But the culture and societal history was either stolen or destroyed throughout the continent.

    • dee
      dee 개월 전

      I feel so lucky that while i was in high school i took the elective called AFRICAN EXPERIENCE. Which i think is pretty progressive for the sometimes backward Pennsylvania

  • Stephen Doherty
    Stephen Doherty 9 개월 전 +16

    Lets not even consider the vast private collector and the art thieves (with some semi legit middleman in between) where the art is never seen in public, never shown to anyone but close friends (maybe not even then) and where the collector knows its stolen, wants to show it to others but can't ever. The same art is then gifted to the next family (but never itemised by anyone - just "family home assets".

    • Skeets McGrew
      Skeets McGrew 7 개월 전

      Ok but at least then it's openly just loot. Museums hold them under the pretense that they are doing the world a favor by holding onto them. I have much more respect for a thief who calls themselves what they are

    SATISH PRADHAN 년 전 +1993

    Fun fact the word loot is a Hindi / Sanskrit (Indian language) word. So the British looted so much that they even took the word loot which the people cried when they were looting.

    • jediping
      jediping 년 전 +93

      Wow I didn’t know this! So messed up!

    • DLaxation
      DLaxation 년 전 +37

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Celieboo
      Celieboo 년 전 +17


    • Morrison Nolan
      Morrison Nolan 년 전 +116

      Queen Victoria named a dog (the first Pekingese in England) stolen from a Chinese palace "Looty"

  • PristinePerceptions
    PristinePerceptions 2 개월 전 +2

    One of the biggest problems with the "anyone can visit it" argument is that many of them are not meant to just be visited. Many of the idols of deities from Asian countries were stolen from active worship. They would absolutely be put back into worship the minute they were returned. Many Native dresses and artifacts are still used ceremonially. These are not "history" - they were in use in the modern day.

  • Archer Scars
    Archer Scars 6 개월 전 +6

    Shout out to my history teacher for showing the whole class this video! I have never laughed and also been so angry at the same time.

  • Michele
    Michele 10 개월 전 +24

    I love you John Oliver for all this information

  • anselmenator
    anselmenator 5 개월 전 +2

    A heist movie where all the artifacts get repatriated could be amusing. Obviously, it would have both George Clooney and Nicholas Cage in it.

    • Tim Thorp
      Tim Thorp 3 개월 전

      damn it, I just posted that! lol

  • Samuli Lipponen
    Samuli Lipponen 2 개월 전 +2

    That would be the best museum ever! The tour guides could once in a while go “and here we see an American and a British diplomats bitching about grave-robbery of their most historical people and the museum staff eloquently telling them to F off”.

  • burlingk
    burlingk 11 개월 전 +1969

    "If you say yes to one, you would suddenly find the British Museum is empty."
    That's kinda the point.

    • Tungsten Arm
      Tungsten Arm 11 개월 전 +34

      That’s also why these museum will never return things, at least not on a scale that matters. These museums would go out of business if they returned all those artifacts, so they’ll never return them willingly.

    • Bencil Sharpie
      Bencil Sharpie 11 개월 전 +10

      When enough time passes I think stolen goods become part of the cultural heritage of the country that stole that stuff.

    • Dirty French
      Dirty French 11 개월 전 +70

      @Bencil Sharpie Let me know when you go on vacation for like a week. I'd like to test your theory when it's YOUR shit that's stolen.

  • WaywardJellyfish
    WaywardJellyfish 7 개월 전 +8

    I honestly feel like at this point, we can really just create replicas to display and send back the originals if we really want to display stuff.

    • Yuri Sei
      Yuri Sei 3 개월 전

      Would be much funnier to send back replicas though

  • Matilda Wolfram
    Matilda Wolfram 2 개월 전

    Wow, that's a good video! When visiting another city or country, every educated person must visit a museum. Visiting museums is very useful and fascinating. A love for the "eternal" and "beautiful" is awakened in a person, the beginnings of greatness and respect for history are inculcated. It is impossible to turn the excursion into something banal, ordinary and boring. The person should be a comprehensively developed person, cultured, educated, critically and analytically thinking, with knowledge of foreign languages. It is the knowledge of a foreign language that opens wide prospects for a person to realize his/her creative potential, career and financial growth. I would like to recommend the practical training course by Yuriy Ivantsiv "Polyglot Notes. Practical tips for learning foreign language", where you can find lots of useful information how to learn a foreign language quickly. Learn a foreign language and realize your creative potential on an international scale! The international community needs creative ideas! Thanks to the author of the channel for a very fascinating tour!

  • inviver07
    inviver07 8 개월 전 +4

    Please please do not stop making such true and valuable videos! The last bit - mmmmaaaasterpiece! As for someone coming from a colonialized country, this felt like 10 thousand fluffiest puppies climbing all over you!

  • Snowdrop Rambles
    Snowdrop Rambles 3 개월 전

    I finally got to see one of the golden statues taken from one of my grandmothers tribes. It is in the Louvre hidden away with the non-white art. The rest of the museum has signs in French and English detailing what the piece is, who crated it and where it came from. However when you see this statue it is only in French and only says “gold statue”.

  • MegaNinjaRyan 6731
    MegaNinjaRyan 6731 2 개월 전 +1

    Clearly that man never understood Solomon’s story there. Solomon wasn’t saying whoever loves the baby more gets the baby, he was figuring out the true owner of it and giving it back!

  • spornge
    spornge 년 전 +10825

    My grandmother found out her grand parents had managed to obtain an Eaglehead dress when she was going through our family storage, she contacted a bunch of people about where it should be probably donated, the museums wanted to not only claim it and planned to put in storage , but were going to fine her for owning it. Keep in mind she was not trying to sell just send it where it should be, thankfully a native American Heritage association got ahold of her and had the legal power to defend their claim on it so it did not end up in a box in a bottom of a basement. It was really gorgoues. I wish I knew where it ended up only that it ended up with a heritage organizaiton.

    • Liquessen
      Liquessen 년 전 +513

      I was gonna google eaglehead dress because it sounded cool, and only then realised you probably meant an eagle headdress?

    • Almitra Hopkins
      Almitra Hopkins 년 전 +431

      That was likely a war trophy. The religious significance of a single eagle feather, let alone an entire war bonnet is too great for it to have been a gift, if genuine. And genuine ones are never sold or traded.

    • Glaaki13
      Glaaki13 년 전 +169

      Damn Im white and it still blow my mind how we can still be
      sad fact only white people got some of their artefact returned from Denmark (im sure others small things got returned) as A dane who love vikings Im sad for people culture to be stolen

    • Laura Beck
      Laura Beck 년 전 +24

      It was probably warn and destroyed by some native on a reservation rather than preserved for future antropologists to study and learn from

    • Sprax
      Sprax 년 전 +350

      Imagine being so privileged and self-centered to have the audacity to think they can find somebody for having artifacts that belongs to somebody else.

  • Derek West
    Derek West 4 개월 전

    Brilliant reseach and execution of facts. Keep up the good work.

  • The Natural Yogi
    The Natural Yogi 4 개월 전

    Been to both the Louvre and the British Museum I kept thinking how odd it was to be looking at Greek statutes but I'm not in Greece. Normally when traveling once we get to a museum it's filled with items of that country. It reminds me though of the US giving back our church bells, I'm sure there was a quid pro quo for that but it feels good to have them back in the PH.

  • Oxylepy
    Oxylepy 5 개월 전 +3

    It always gets me that the British Museum can't just make a copy to keep and then return the artifacts to where they belong.

  • onthefive
    onthefive 5 개월 전

    Awesome show, and super relevant. It puts me in mind of several instances I've run into as a cultural anthropologist over a 50 year period. The most poignant incident involved appalling destruction rather than theft. During the early days of President Bush's war against Iraq, museums were demolished in the march towards what he expected to be a quick victory. The pity is that Iraq, considered the global crossroads of religion through many thousands of years, became the scene of devastating evil, with museums senselessly razed to the ground. It was a loss to all of humanity.
    Both personally and professionally, I've held in my hands ancient Chinese jade artifacts initially stolen from graves and sold at auctions around the world. The biggest issue with jade is the difficulty proving that it's genuine without nearly destroying the item. Not only are fake documents of provenance available for genuine but stolen articles, but as a result, it's also possible for an owner to claim that a piece in their possession is a reproduction and therefore not acquired illegally.
    In addition to carved jade artifacts are cases wherein Native American artifacts have been illegally dug up in southwestern US and kept or sold - a crime that continues to this day.
    In some instances I've been able to convince buyers to return items to their rightful cultural owners and take a huge tax deduction for it, but collectors of artifacts known to be stolen are often insanely possessive and dangerous, whereas museums are just selfish and a bit mean.

  • cirenita
    cirenita 5 개월 전

    OLIVER thank you for your truth telling. Even you can tell the difference in accent BS. I agree these precious items should be returned to their rightful owners. They are priceless mementos to each culture.

  • Shaynanigans
    Shaynanigans 년 전 +560

    When I was in a museum in Cambodia, they had some empty glass cases describing an artifact that was in some other museum and when they asked for it back. Some of the cases did have items with labels when they asked for an item back and when they received it usually several years to a decade later. I think this public shaming is a clever idea and makes people more aware of the issue.

    • Koen
      Koen 년 전 +8

      It's exactly the same in the Akropolis museum in Athens

    • voracious viewer
      voracious viewer 11 개월 전

      I think the stockades should make a societal comeback. If we can't penalize corporations for crimes then we should at least be able to throw 6$ genetically modified and glyphosate ridden tomatoes at their ceos, cfos, 23 vice presidents and board members. That'll be one long piece of wood. Too bad we have so few old growth forests left in existence.

  • Krispyfort02
    Krispyfort02 5 개월 전 +1

    The Gerald Ford segment not ending in a joke - POWERFUL
    I will admit to expecting a live James Spader tied, gagged, and on display (the Remington costume of course)

  • Kevin Lee
    Kevin Lee 9 개월 전 +7

    I watch a lifetime of collecting go in the dumpster after my neighbor passed away. These items must be returned and must be protected.

  • TheOtakuX
    TheOtakuX 5 개월 전

    I agree, you can't judge the actions of the past by the standards of today. HOWEVER, choosing not to return looted items is an action of today that we absolutely CAN judge.

    RASHMI REGMI 5 개월 전 +3

    So many Nepalese deities are all over USA. The most important one is Taleju Bhagwan goddess, she graces Chicago museum right now. I am 30 years old and I have never seen the statue cause it was stolen decades ago and now the empty temple stands in heart Kathmandu waiting for the deity to return home. I spotted several of deities in Yale museum as well. It’s heartbreaking.

  • John Nichols
    John Nichols 4 개월 전

    My mother inherited a piece of the Parthenon from her father that he brought home after WWll. I remember it being a doorstop growing up. She mailed it back to Greece about 15 years ago

  • rishabh anand
    rishabh anand 년 전 +554

    From the british perspective, and those of other countries with stolen artifacts, the way forward ought to be fairly simple. Create replicas of each artifact to keep in your own museum, and return the originals to the countries they were stolen from.

    • Maria
      Maria 11 개월 전 +1


    • playerpage
      playerpage 11 개월 전 +38

      Yeah, they can have the copies of the Parthenon the Greeks were forced to have.

    • HoodieSticks
      HoodieSticks 11 개월 전 +38

      They literally already do this with treasures from Western nations, so I don't see why they can't do it for everything else.

    • Don C
      Don C 11 개월 전 +1

      Then we'll have someone's uncle selling relics from a tugboat.

  • KarmikCykle
    KarmikCykle 3 개월 전 +1

    "Why do we have three of Gerald Ford's ribs? Because we couldn't get four."
    Favorite line in the entire video.

  • princesstriceestar
    princesstriceestar 5 개월 전

    This was so well done. I used to love museums until someone "reminded" me that the items are stolen. It's hard to go in now.

  • UnimportantHero
    UnimportantHero 7 개월 전 +1

    With all the advances in digital scanning and 3D printing (we can even 3D print replicas of paintings now), along with all the traditional arts of making moulds from objects and casting copies, there should be zero reason why these artifacts cannot be returned while still allowing museums to show people what the artifacts look like, what materials they were made in, and their historic significance. The only reason, at this point, for holding on to so many of these comes down to nothing more than bragging rights.
    I can only regret and lament that it has taken me, personally, much too long to come around to this very simple truth.

  • Jan Heesen
    Jan Heesen 5 개월 전

    This was incredible sad to learn. I always loved to see the crafts and arts of cultures long forgotten, but never thought of it as stolen from the countries they were made in and at the same time also stealing their identity. Give it back and make it a virtual visit from now on! Having those incredible items locked in boxes for no one to see is an awful crime.

  • Sarah Watson
    Sarah Watson 3 개월 전

    I study anthropology and I’m Native Canadian… it’s an inner struggle sometimes but when it comes to human remains I think we are at a place now in time and technology where we can get all the information to help us understand the daily life of the past and then give the remains the respect that they deserve, wether it be a proper reburial in place that would make cultural sense, giving the remains back to the people they come from if they are still around, or other things that I can’t think of right now. I think that if ever there is a case where the remains are claimed by a people/culture there should be an open discussion about the process. We can make amazing replicas these days and show those without risking destroying the historical or cultural importance of the original. Donations to museums are different as well, in a native Canadian context my tribe had a large part in donating familial items and making cultural pieces for a permanent exhibit in a very large and popular museum in the City I live in. We felt that we were given the right to work along side in making the exhibit and made sure our stories were heard. That’s the proper way to do things in my opinion.


    As a Greek person I am glad someone with a large audience like John Oliver is taking about this

    • Zwenk Wiel
      Zwenk Wiel 11 개월 전 +5

      Just stop abusing your statues man XD

    • Jordi Nagel
      Jordi Nagel 11 개월 전 +16

      @Zwenk Wiel considering that it was a British man, not a Greek one, who carved out the bits of relief mentioned in the video, I’d say check yourself

    • Zwenk Wiel
      Zwenk Wiel 11 개월 전 +2

      @Jordi Nagel hey I'm not the one having sex with statues here

    • Jordi Nagel
      Jordi Nagel 11 개월 전 +14

      @Zwenk Wiel riiiight… Forgive me for having taken you at all seriously

    • Andrew Singleton
      Andrew Singleton 11 개월 전 +11

      Agreed rather wholeheartedly. Oh sure these bits of culture are nice to show off in museums, but we have the technology to now make highly detailed full 3d scans of the pieces and use those to make near flawless duplicates.
      I remember a field trip to the parthanon in Nashville in sixth grade.
      I. Fucking. LOVED it. I didn't care that it was all reproduction. I just loved that it was there and it was an attempt at bringing antiquity TO us in a way that was accessable. I mean. It wouldn't have had the sam effect to see a bit of this anda bitof that behind glass. Seeing a life sized recreation of the frescos and statues. To walk the length and bredth of a place and cast your mind's eye back. 'This was built.... without modern tools by a culture who had the will and knowledge to make it happen.... also a shitton of slaves ando r menials to do the grunt work.'
      I want more places like that. Less of the vandalism.

  • Akinokaze Haruichiban
    Akinokaze Haruichiban 9 개월 전 +6

    Make reproductions of each piece, return the originals, it's that damn simple.
    The point of a museum should be to share history and culture, the pieces being the originals is not a necessity for that.
    The only originals they should have are ones from their own nation that were donated to them, or other nations that were gifted/loaned to them.

  • Annabella dragonlady
    Annabella dragonlady 2 개월 전

    I just lost my best fur friend last year and it was devastating as it always is. Being an adopter of older pets, ive been through this heartbreak many times. All we can do is give them the best lives possible and and pass on the love they give us. So sorry for your loss farron. So glad those two kittens landed in the right hands.

  • Pingus Dingus
    Pingus Dingus 4 개월 전

    Honestly James Spader deserves to be in a museum.

  • xredstar303x
    xredstar303x 9 개월 전 +11

    I was able to view some of the storage rooms in the field museum as a field trip (mostly just dinosaur bones) but I never thought they’d be storing artifacts like that. As a local, I’m disgusted with the field museum now.

  • Matheus Portela
    Matheus Portela 5 개월 전

    Someone really should make a museum of the stories of stolen items by museums.

  • Kit Hardwick
    Kit Hardwick 년 전 +756

    I used to work for the natural science museum in Houston and they did go through their exhibits and their archives and return Native American artifacts to the various nations they belonged to. Then they worked with native artists and commissioned replicas for display. I don't know why other museums can't do something similar.

    • Seffi Shestopal
      Seffi Shestopal 년 전 +25

      It is sad that other museums don’t do that

    • Paavo Jordman
      Paavo Jordman 년 전 +39

      Repatriation and inclusion of communities are rising themes in museums and it really seems that museums are starting to do similar things much more often.

    • TheNinthGeneration
      TheNinthGeneration 년 전 +25

      Replicas are the most obvious answer

    • Tepid Ceranda
      Tepid Ceranda 년 전 +6

      @Seffi Shestopal You people act like King Tut is still walking around to return his belongings to. Sending items back to their country of origin, or even thinking about just sending that country money as "reparations" isn't the answer here. You're rewarding people who didn't have anything to do with the artifacts to begin with.

    • Thomas Søby
      Thomas Søby 년 전 +62

      @Tepid Ceranda To people who didn't have anything to do with them? It's THEIR cultural heritage ffs. This is not about returning articats to individuals but to return them to their cultural homes so the indigenous people can enjoy their heritage. Jeez..

  • Deette Kearns
    Deette Kearns 5 개월 전 +1

    CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on this recently. New York has a police team devoted to this very subject. Some items have actually been seized out of people's home. Worth a watch.
    Thanks for the video!

  • Michael McDaniel
    Michael McDaniel 9 개월 전 +14

    This subject is a good one to illustrate the fickleness of change in our public mores. We are caught in our conflict between what we used to "know" and what we now know. Change is hard!

    • P Garcia
      P Garcia 9 개월 전 +1

      “Thou shall not steal “ has been around for a while now.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 9 개월 전

      I thought the English liked the Ten Commandments.

  • NochSoEinKaddiFan
    NochSoEinKaddiFan 9 개월 전 +2

    While you have it, make copies of it. Transfer the ownership to the rightful owners and then ask them, if they want the thing back. If yes, you have the copy, if not, you give the copy to them so they can build their own musem and once it is somewhat safe and stable, there is still the option to swap the things so the owner gets the real thing and you as a museum are still a place for education using all the copies you have created

    PHOENIXGUNDAM 5 개월 전 +1

    The sad thing is even if all of these antiquities were returned the cycle of how museums treat said artifacts would probably continue. Only being shown publicly for the first few years of their return to large crowds then put away again not to be seen for decades by the descendants of its own creators.
    And to take it even further most of these pieces weren't even ment to be publicly viewed. Most of this were originally created to be either ceremonial decoration or funerary items. So even the home country of these priceless artifacts were never ment to publicly display them. Only leave them in the tombs and temples where the artifacts creators believed they would remain for literal eternity, even long after humanity itself may no longer exist.

  • qwertyuiopzxcfgh
    qwertyuiopzxcfgh 년 전 +1674

    "We can't do the right thing now, or else we'd have to do the right thing again in the future" - the British Museum.

    • Praise The Sun
      Praise The Sun 년 전 +45

      That exact logic is how the Brits managed to invent Capitalism.

    • qwertyuiopzxcfgh
      qwertyuiopzxcfgh 년 전 +19

      @Praise The Sun I thought the idea behind capitalism was "if everyone only cares about themselves, everyone is cared for".

    • Gondor
      Gondor 년 전 +32

      If we admit fault now, we'd have to admit fault for everything...and I mean everything. And we can't have that, now, can we?

    • OllamhDrab
      OllamhDrab 년 전 +8

      @Gondor Honestly, uncaringness and imperial atitudes aside, *some* of the removals for archiving may have even made sense at the time, but the situation *now* is more important than blame. Wherever the fault lies, the question is what can be done *now.* Even innocent motives originally, or dodging blame, doesn't have much to do with where something belongs *now.*

  • Robert Hoerz
    Robert Hoerz 5 개월 전

    You ever wonder if national powerhouses like France, the UK, or America are ever afraid of this happening to their stuff?

  • kc
    kc 6 개월 전 +1

    Friends grandma worked at the British museum and in the 60s they chucked out pieces into a dump. She even grew up with her grandmother legally taking the pieces home.

  • Carlos Khorzly
    Carlos Khorzly 9 개월 전 +1

    Here is an idea, the British government shall grant unequivocally tourist visas to any citizen of a country where pieces or artifacts are found in British museums so that these People can see first hand a piece of their history.
    Since Britain has gone to great extent to go meet foreign people I am sure they will appreciate foreign people visiting them as well.

  • Alex Vasquez
    Alex Vasquez 3 개월 전

    Even with only 1% on display the British Museum has an overwhelming amount of items on exhibit.

  • harvestcanada
    harvestcanada 9 개월 전 +4

    I went to Sutton Hoo, and the British Museum do not seem to have a problem properly curating thier own artifacts. Between Sutton Hoo and the British Museum there are combinations of real artifacts and exact copies of original artifacts with the right atmosphere and historical context, can be just as informative as traditional museums.
    I went to Kenwood House and there is an exact specially taken photograph of the portrait of Dido and her cousin painted in the 18th century. And at first glance it does not look like photo. The real painting is held in Scotland.

  • Ayda Moftah
    Ayda Moftah 11 개월 전 +1733

    I’m half Egyptian and I’m born and raised in Egypt. When I was little, I was SO fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture. When I was about 6 years old, my mom’s friend took me to the Egyptian museum. To my horror, almost all the artefacts weren’t available to see. There were just glass cases with photos of what would have been there, but were at other museums in Western Europe, the UK, or NY. The new Egyptian museum is opening up soon and supposedly it’ll have the largest archeological collection in the world. Here’s hoping that it’s not just going to be a huge disappointment like I had as a kid.

    • A person
      A person 11 개월 전 +149

      In Babylon they had to build a replica of the Ishtar gate because some German guy fucking stole the whole real entry way and 118 out of 120 lions on the processional way. They had the audacity to say “Iraqis couldn’t take care of their artifacts” because the remnants of the gate got damaged by US bombardment during the war. They had the audacity to say that the gate was “bought and paid for” because smuggling something down the river in pieces during the night is the kind of thing you do when you buy something 😂

    • Ayda Moftah
      Ayda Moftah 11 개월 전 +102

      @A person honestly the only reason the Pyramids of Giza are still in Egypt is because they would have been too heavy to move. Those assholes even took our three largest Obelisks from Luxor… it’s absolute insanity.

    • c
      c 11 개월 전 +28

      @A person In Iraq's case they were right. Remember what happened at the Iraqi National Museum when dozens of ancient statues were destroyed by muslim fondamentalists? Turns out they were not safe

    • Sam
      Sam 11 개월 전 +68

      @c Are you being serious? Do you also think Ukraine don't deserve to take care of their own artifacts because they are being demolished by Russia? You can't judge the museum based on what other people choose to do to it! That's called victim blaming.

  • Soaring Kite
    Soaring Kite 8 개월 전 +1

    Bravo, John, for shedding light on this issue! I’ve been to people’s homes who had priceless Egyptian, Hindu, Khmer, and Mayan masterpieces hanging prominently in private rooms. 😢

  • Echonian
    Echonian 4 개월 전

    Thank you for addressing the arguments typically used for keeping such artifacts in their current museums.
    Personally, I think that those kinds of arguments can have weight - but 9 times out of 10 they are used more as a poor excuse than due to legitimate concerns.
    Artifacts and ancient art are things which should be considered valuable due to their cultural impacts primarily. So the cultural importance of them being returned to their "place of origin" I think should make returning such things the default stance. There is of course a grey area here for many museums and many items, but when I see such lazy responses by those in support of current practices - saying "it was the law" or the like without considering the deeper nuances - it really is disappointing.

  • MossyMozart
    MossyMozart 8 개월 전 +2

    I very much appreciate this episode. And thank you for the tour of the Payback Museum. I probably will never get there on my own.

  • AzureLion
    AzureLion 5 개월 전 +2

    I'm surprised there are no heist movies where the cat burglars are connected to British Museums.

    • Tim Thorp
      Tim Thorp 3 개월 전

      I'd like to see a heist movie where the burglars break into museums to return artifacts to their rightful nations

  • Lawrence Henshaw
    Lawrence Henshaw 6 개월 전

    It's disgraceful that Museums don't return artifacts to their original oweners, I am sure that the countries will be very grateful

  • Adultish Gambino
    Adultish Gambino 년 전 +1379

    “We can’t return your art and culture because otherwise we wouldn’t have our own” is the most depressingly hilarious line I’ve ever heard.

    • Idontknow WhoIam
      Idontknow WhoIam 년 전 +72

      Anglosaxon imperialistic logic right here

    • sassafrassiest
      sassafrassiest 년 전 +59

      That’s one of the most frustrating parts of this. In playing “World Heritage Curator” the British Museum and similar institutions are missing the opportunity to focus solely on their own heritage

    • baka1949
      baka1949 년 전 +10

      No one made that claim, so you haven't heard it in the first place.

  • Sappho
    Sappho 5 개월 전

    i didnt learn much in greek orthodox sunday school, but i did learn that countless marbles were stolen from greece. i remember this one very old very greek teacher i had ranting the entire class time about how so many things had been stolen and put in museums. it was pretty incoherent so i didn’t give her rants much thought, but now that i know what she was talking about i’d say im pretty darn pissed about it too

  • Jeff Halstead
    Jeff Halstead 10 개월 전 +14

    Imagine you go to see the actual stone henge and realize they actually took one 😂

  • Lesley Schultz
    Lesley Schultz 4 개월 전

    As someone who deeply cares about Art, and about preserving cultural heritages, this story really hit home. It also reminded me of the the Salvatore Mundi story, the picture of Jesus holding a glass sphere and blessing everyone, that was sort of attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci (British Museum 'certified it'). It's believed that Mohamad Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, purchased it from Christie's for $450MM a few years ago. There was very little provenance to prove that Da Vinci actually painted. But Provenance? We don't need no actual provenance if public interest is high enough, and we can milk the public interest to fever pitch values by having Leonardo di Caprio do a promotional video for how amazing the picture is (it's not shown in the promo just people's reactions to looking at it). Art is a trophy, sometimes an ultimate trophy, for wealthy people to sink millions of dollars into it, and after it gets sold-- it's always valuable no matter whether or not you can prove that the art was legitimately acquired or even real vs. fake-- because of imputed value. Wealthy people and museums can borrow millions of dollars against their collections to finance other dealings. The art world is a very opaque world, one of the least regulated on the planet, and not hardly policed at all.

  • Lily T.
    Lily T. 9 개월 전 +2

    This doesn't surprise. The British Museum has so many artifacts from Ethiopia as well, they are still refusing to return the Axum, and many other artifacts. I think the one that pisses us off the most are the religious artifacts, which include over 300 manuscripts. And sadly they are not the only ones, there are universities that are guilty of holding these items hostage as well. In some instances it is also the Ethiopian government who handed these items over, like the TPLF party under Meles Zenawi. All around sad.