Paul Basu
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A museum for Sierra Leone?
Amateur enthusiasms and colonial museum policy in British West Africa
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The introduction of museums and legislation to protect monuments, antiquities and artworks came late to British West Africa in relation to many other territories of the British Empire. The likes of Kenneth Murray, E. H. Duckworth and H. V. Meyerowitz, who tirelessly campaigned for a colonial museum policy, were only too aware that West Africa's past was being emptied out by the very hegemonic forces they represented. Toward the end of his speech to the Sierra Leone Society, Robert Hall acknowledged the need to explain why his challenge to create a national museum was addressed to a group of amateur enthusiasts rather than to government. Although Sierra Leone was Britain's oldest and once most prestigious West African territory, by the mid-twentieth century its importance had long been eclipsed by the larger and more economically significant territories of Nigeria and the Gold Coast.

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Curating empire

Museums and the British imperial experience


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