by Harvey Oberfeld
May 23, 2022
The only history worthy of telling … and memorializing … is the unblemished, unfiltered absolute truth.
Good museums are invaluable assets in any local community, province, state or country. Future generations can … and should … learn from the accomplishments and failings of the past.
But beware when governments and politicians take an active role in planning, organizing and recounting the history of any people or region … through museums!
The rewriting of history to fit the propaganda/ideological goals favored by the politicians in power is very dangerous.
Which is what I believe is happening in BC … and there is mounting evidence to prove it.
If British Columbians (and the BC media) had the time and interest in putting two and two together, they would realize political interference in the Royal BC Museum ESCALATED long before Premier John Horgan’s announcement of the new BILLION DOLLAR museum.
It began last December, with the closure and dismantling of the museum’s hugely popular Old Town exhibit.
Old Town showed how BC’s early settlers first lived/shopped in their new environment. And it showcased thousands of artifacts (tools, clothing, household goods) and early urban living conditions.
But they were European …and white. Under the NDP, It had to go! And so did the Captain Cook’s ship’s cabin depiction.
This from the Victoria Times Columnist announcing the closure:
“The museum will close the entire third floor, which also includes the First Peoples Gallery, on Dec. 31, in what it calls a “decolonization” of exhibits in a step toward eliminating racism and the start of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
“Exhibits in the Becoming B.C. Gallery, chronicling early European settler history — including the Old Town replica, displays on the logging, fishery and mining industries and Capt. George Vancouver’s ship Discovery — will disappear after more than 50 years.”
Yes … key elements depicting BC’s REAL history will “disappear”.
“Elements of those displays could eventually return in a new form as the museum develops a “new narrative.”
Sounds like a new “woke” propaganda attempt to me!!
I have no doubt the First Nations exhibits and celebration of culture will return in the “new” museum in fawning expanded form and content: the European brave explorers, rugged pioneers and accomplishments not so much … and likely not to the same degree of celebration of their culture/contributions.
You can read the full story here: https://www.timescolonist.com/islander/royal-bc-museum-sees-rush-for-last-look-at-old-town-before-its-dismantled-4880069.
Still think BC’s “new” history WON’T be politically tainted?
“Government has committed to modernization of the Royal BC Museum ….” said the Museum’s own press release at the time.
Whenever government gets involved in “modernization” of any history museum …. be scared, be very scared!
In fact, Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer noted just last week that it was Tourism Minister Melanie Mark months ago who “presided over the permanent closure and removal of Old Town on grounds that it was part of an institution that needed to be “decolonized” forthwith.”
“Only after an outcry by capital region residents who really did love Old Town, did Mark drop the “decolonialization” rhetoric and begin referring to the need to “modernize” and seismically upgrade the museum.”
You can read Palmer’s full column here: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-horgan-can-only-blame-himself-for-museum-faux-pas.
The BC NDP government is interfering in … and rewriting of BC history.
No doubt to FIT the NDP’s historic, ideological and political narrative … the truth be damned!
And WHO will ultimately decide how/what the “new” museum will tell BC’s history?
This from the Museum’s own website:
“The Royal BC Museum Corporation is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Province, and accountable to the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. The Board appoints a Chief Executive Officer to implement policies and corporate goals.”
Can’t be any more political than that!
Be skeptical … be scared.
In fact, from what NDP MLA Aman Singh (Richmond-Queensborough), said in the Legislature last week, I believe government (political) interference will soon extend well beyond the BC Museum.
“Our government understands the pivotal role museums, art galleries, historic sites and cultural centres have in preserving and showcasing the history, culture and contributions of specific communities in BC,” Singh proffered.
Governments should have NO ROLE in deciding/telling the stories, the history, the truth in ANY of these institutions.
Is anyone naive enough to believe that the new NDP museum will tell the FULL truth of European, First Nations and immigrant interactions and history … the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly on ALL sides?
We all know governments and politicians deal in propaganda, spin … even sometimes outright lying … to suit their own agendas, ideology and political goals.
And the evidence is growing that, in BC, the NDP government is too actively participating in and manipulating the affairs of the Royal BC Museum … and likely even more areas to come.
The truth will set us free … but I doubt “truth” will be front and centre at the Billion Dollar “NDP Museum of BC History”.
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