Friday, October 16, 2015

No 'Respect', Universal Museum Trophy Artefacts meet Sesame Street

Ridiculed and humiliated in America
Billed as "the biggest" one outside Egypt, Penn Musum's sphinx was found near the Ptah Temple at Memphis, excavated by Petrie. It bears the royal names of the 19th dynasty pharaoh Ramesses II and his son and successor Merenptah, and the museum like doing silly things with their trophy to celebrate capturing it:
To celebrate the Sphinx in all of its splendor, join the Penn Museum for quizzo on Oct. 2, a Young Professionals Event on Oct. 11, a Halloween event on Oct. 17, a sleepover on Oct. 18, and workshop on Oct. 26. On Oct. 19—almost 100 years to the day that the Sphinx arrived at Penn—the Museum will host a “Hijinks with the Sphinx” event from 1 to 4 p.m..
This apparently consisted of:
stories of the Sphinx, and an exclusive display of Egyptian kitsch, items from pop culture based on ancient Egyptian themes [...]. Guests matched wits in a True/False game about ancient Egypt, raced through an Indiana Jones-style obstacle course, and enjoyed an ancient hairstyles demonstration. Penn Museum members receieved (sic) an exclusive behind-the-scenes Sphinx history tour in the Museum Archives, while everyone joined the Sphinx for a celebratory slice of cake.
Universal Museums meet Sesame street. Perhaps if displaying it in the kitschy way they do, and treating it like just another pop-culture sideshow to be gawped at and played with, is the best the Americans can do with it, the sculpture would be better off going back to Egypt. It would do better for it to stand again in Memphis so it can be seen in a better context than entrapped by foreign dumbed down stupidity and treated as a alien object of fun.

Collectors say that accumulating these things and removing them from their context they are showing and teaching 'respect' for, and understanding of, other cultures. I see no respect or enhanced understanding  here whatsoever.