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Hall of European Peoples

for the natural history museum in NYC
  [vote for,

I was deeply disturbed by the various “halls of people.” in the Natural History Museum. You know like “The Hall of Asian Peoples” and “The Hall of Native American Peoples” There were halls for every people but European peoples and modern American people. Who I suppose we aren't supposed to think of as peoples. But rather as “us” or god knows what. Surprised they can still get away with that. Build a new hall now.
futurebird, Aug 19 2001

American Museum of Natural History http://www.amnh.org...ibitions/floorplan/
Floor plan, if you want to check for yourself. [jutta, Aug 19 2001]

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village http://www.hfmgv.org
Henry's cars require roads. One road threatens his boyhood home. In an effort to save it, he decides to capture all Americana. [phoenix, Aug 19 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Ancestors. Who knew? http://www.theatlan...s/2002/05/olson.htm
You're descended from Confucius. Seriously. [mrthingy, May 24 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       How about "Hall of Caucasian Peoples"? Saves the need for separate European & American halls.   

       What's actually put in these "halls of people" anyhow? Presumably not just people of various ethnic origins standing around chatting.
-alx, Aug 19 2001

       I'm really quite surprised--where do they display such Euroculture things as bullfighting equipment, bagpipes, and brass beds? Maybe the implicit assumption was that American/European people come to the Museum to view artifacts from these other cultures, and so an American/European hall is unnecessary. Seems rather a stupid assumption, though. I'll email the Museum and see if they respond.
Dog Ed, Aug 20 2001

       I suppose it all depends if the Museum collects those kinds of artifacts. I suspect if such a Hall was to be created there would a huge feud between Americans of differing European backgrounds as to what is important enough to be placed there.
Aristotle, Aug 20 2001

       <pedant mode> I don't recall North America starting with an 'A' </pedant mode>
-alx, Aug 20 2001

       I wonder if they all start with "A" in Chinese?
beauxeault, Aug 20 2001

       Doesn't end in one, though...   

       I think that was a bit strong, though, since 'North America' and 'South America' are considered different continents.
StarChaser, Aug 20 2001

       I just visited this place for the first time since I was a kid (out-of-towners visiting, y'see). Dog Ed and PeterSealy are correct; the museum assumes its visitors to be North American / European. Pretty much all of them were, though, except for a sizeable number of Asians. But that should in no way let the musuem off the hook for the ethnocentrism implicit in thier assumption.   

       Then again, whaddaya expect from a place as boring and stale as that anyway? Screw 'em. Don't go.
snarfyguy, Aug 21 2001

       First-level reply from the Museum:   

       "At the moment their [sic] are not any plans for expansion of these current halls, or to add any additional peoples halls. However, I can appreciate your interest and suggestion, and I have forwarded a copy of your e-mail to the appropriate individual in the Exhibition Department."   

       UnaBubba: //Isn't all cultural study and display in museums and travel books [condescending]?//   

       Well, it isn't all 'gee-whiz them Xlanders are weird'. Sometimes, looking at Native American exhibits, I think "Wow, now *that's* ingenious," knowing full well I would shrivel up and die in short order if I were lost in southeast Oregon--territory where the Paiute made a perfectly good living from the land. I'm perfectly willing to admit that whilst I can touch-type, so-called 'primitive' peoples are much cleverer than I at many rather more crucial skills. And occasionally books and museums remind me of that fact.   

       [The 'their' for 'there' was in the original email I received, angel. El Pedanto should fly at superspeed to NYC and give the righter a peace of his or her mind.]
Dog Ed, Aug 21 2001

       [DogEd]: Is that 'their' the Museum's error or yours?
angel, Aug 21 2001

       You mean, you think they must have been disgusting and miserable from your 21st century, Western, air-conditioned standpoint.
hippo, Aug 21 2001

       Well, compared to the Romans with their baths and various *primitive* Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures (e.g. the Hittites, who had strong traditions of daily ablutions, similar to Islamic practices today), they were indeed pretty manky. While the Moors were running the show, we Europeans were just stinky barbarians, illiterate and unhygienic, living in our own slops. The Japanese weren't that impressed when they met us either.
Guy Fox, Aug 21 2001

       "Otto The Fart" was a King fer Chrissakes.
thumbwax, Aug 21 2001

       UB: Perhaps it is I who should apologize for my evidently provocative remark. I had hoped to provoke a grin rather than a growl.
beauxeault, Aug 21 2001

       I added a link to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan (Go Spartans!). Not exactly what the idea is about, but in the same vein.   

       An absolutely wonderful place with an astounding number of items. And they change exhibits often. Of course there are cars there (and not all Fords), but so much more. The village is a collection of historicaly signifigant buildings which mostly pre-date or are contemporary to Ford. There are active blacksmiths, candlemakers, bakers, etc as well. You can also tour the village in horse drawn carriage or a Model 'A' Ford.   

       Great place. I highly recommend it.
phoenix, Aug 22 2001

       UnaBubba: I overshot the mark in my response to your anno about condescending displays. You are, in the main, quite right. And I find my own sentiments about not underestimating the intelligence of 'primitive' or historical peoples ably expressed by both you and Mephista. Oh! We really *are* the Happy Cuddle Club.
Dog Ed, Aug 22 2001


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