The Museum


hey everybody throughout history people have been denouncing demonize for descending from the majority but that didn't stop them from speaking up unpopular is about resistors in pariahs rebels and revolutionaries people like sitting bull fool me layover in some kooky galileo in the mirror ball sisters took a chance on what they believed in and inspired real change every week host eve tells the story of someone who challenges the status quo connecting the dots between their history in the history where making today listen and subscribe but apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you listen to podcasts see welcome to mention production at i heart radio hey welcome to invention my name is robert lamb and i'm joe mccormick you know humans are aware of history it's it's one of are key attributes not always though well to varying degrees were aware of history or we have awareness of of of what we think history debate a in a in not just their own personal history but a history across generations across decades centuries millennia even we're aware of what came before vio oral traditions andy evidence to the world around us even as we continually change things in anticipation of the future and then of course we have recorded history as well and we have any concept of history that goes beyond the concern for literal accuracy about what happened in the past i think about everything from ancient mythology is in which people tried to construct day you know not not literally existent a version of their past this something just sort of explain the present ride a all the way to the kinds of mystical histories the people still like to engage in today you know ancient aliens and all you you know half the stuff on the the history shows on tv oh yeah inevitably 'em history ends up melding with smith and you really don't have to go too far back in history for that to take place for for the historical become a the legendary at least but one thing that makes clear i think is that we have a kind of craving for something that we think of as history that is not always exactly the same thing is knowing what's actually true about what happened x number of years ago right right so establishing just from the getgo that the human contemplation of history is in in of itself a kind of a complex thing a narrative a becomes a central part of it but also way complicating aspect stop it yeah and then they're additional concerns were going to get into a now when we when we think about history i mean one of the things about human use of history is that we're able to pass information on in a way that doesn't depend on are genetics so a big part of of course just recorded histories literature about the past but then a they're already artifacts of the past a rarity artifacts of the the distant past the dvd the relatively recent past artifacts of the present and all of these things find their way into museums yeah i mean think about what your feeling about ancient egypt be if you could only have read about it never could have seen any of its artifacts any it's art work you've never seen images of the pyramids never seen the the ancient figurines or the the circus guy or anything like that there would be an unnecessary texture would be lacking dear understanding of what ancient egypt was yeah and of course the today we have so many tools their disposal to say understand ancient egypt and the one thing we just we have a better understanding then ever before other still a lot of things we don't know but we but you know we're at a a the bleeding edge of our understanding right in and on top of that we have of photography we have a the motion picture a we have a computer imagery we have a whole host of other inventions that have made it at first of all made easier for us to understand what agent egypt who's like antigens made it easier for people all around the world to get a grasp of it like you you no longer have to travel to ancient egypt a as certainly even as the romans did these ancient romans out consider in their contemplation of we even more ancient egyptians and likewise you don't even have to be able to travel to aim museum that has artifacts it have been transported from egypt obviously and got a website you can go to a two books to films at cetera but the museum is still important yeah that's exactly right and it's important in multiple ways i mean i i think about the two main ways it's important number one of course is just thee preservation display of artifacts right the show you what they look like you know do give you the the physical representation but then i think equally as important is d a the contextualized literature of museum herbert of material because you you know this is often pointed out by archaeologist and historians that if we only former picture of a a pass civilization by looking at its physical artifacts there's any necessary sort of a filtering mechanism there that's time you don't see all aspects of the civilization that are prone to deter biodegradable or that are prone to erosion breaking down over time a so i mean there's there's sort of this joke about like you know if you only look at these artifacts and you don't reid about other things were see sort of artists a representation of what these other things surrounding these artifacts might have been you could assume that everyone in each in egypt like walked around in stone enclose yeah yeah or you know there are all these are all the sculpture churn ancient rome was unpainted and you know stoic and gray i mean it's it's essentially incense v a marquee logical and anthropological are very much like a paleontology a you know it's it's one thing to look at these even be reassembled fumbled end in the reasonable fossils of prehistoric creature not but then there are all the things that did not survive a did we have to a piece together a to get a full understanding of what this creature was or might have been yeah the the skin across time a that could all be represented in interpretive materials were museum so those were i think equally as important as just like having an artifact in preserving it from being destroyed by the elements oh yeah like i think of like the really great museums i've been to and i and i've been fortunate enough to get the go to you know a number of them were fortunate enough to living a city that has some very nice museums is well but but there's a there's a journey you go on there is there is a story that you involve yourself fan when you're when you when you're in a really good museum or really good exhibit a in i think part of that too is like it appeals to spatial learning per instance free plug for the firm bank a museum here in atlanta a you know they have a section called the like the george walk through time and a it's it's something that you know kids grew up in the inland areas and going to for a long time and they they probably end up taking it for granted but you know there's this is like a spatial journey you do walk through time you get to a you know go through these exhibits and get kind of a you know walk through of geologic history enda in and i think that's important likewise with the with fossils and reproductions or even a taxi jeremy animals there is something about being in the physical presence of either this creature or representation of this creature that just gives you an understanding of it they don't necessarily get from a book or description or film even some sort of a a virtual to a reality simulation yeah that's right and so later in the episode we're gonna discuss some of the potential drawbacks and other considerations have about museum culture but there is certainly a thing that is great about museum culture like these these tendency in see to want to preserve history and explain it right into and also kim kun forcing emotional connection like i believe it was on the field museum i believe we we we were there together 'cause we had a a a work thing they're in a they had a un exhibit about where they hadn't artistic recreation of slave ship like walk through the hold off it ended up you know it's just a really emotional experience and just brings a you know i remember you know brian here's my eyes you know like that's an example where you know you you have this positive a emotional manipulation to a certain extent by the by the museum he'll give you this emotional connection with the topic and i think that's easy to overlook when we think of museums because you can think of them as is just a like a stoic presentation artifacts that are perhaps lacking in context or acquire a great deal of leading the fine print a but they could also help you feel the pain and passionate people who have been long dead right the civil rights museum here in atlanta also does a tremendous job through all sorts of like multimedia of of of you know being able to like this one exhibit where you sit at a lunch counter and you wear headphones they give you the experience of a of being a protester a daring a of the civil rights movement in america in a you know it's the little things like that often with with you know some technological bells and whistles which you've you've used wisely you can just really in in hance what the museum is able to do a from educational perspective that's exactly right and that's that's a good point about how you know museums today are much more than just a the storage and display of physical artifact mean that's the sort of classic museum tradition is like you have an object of some kind of significance it's a work of art or and artifacts found through archaeology something or you know it's a natural history maybe in the mineral or a bone or something like that and that's on display but yeah meet museums are bigger than that now they're they're in many ways is sort of just like place you can go to engage with some former other of history right and it's in or even celebrated a you know such as you know when i think of some of are are better you know science and technology museums it's hey hey space where where where science is celebrated yeah end there'll be various activities going on to eight in that celebration from say science themed play room for very small children to say a lecture series for a of forever older individuals who you know who need something more substantial so i guess the question is how did human start doing this like winded the museum tradition began when did we first get he idea that you would you would put objects on display or have some kind of a place where do you go to interact with educational materials like this right and i think the important thing there were were kind of skipping over and all of this is that is a museum ideally in in in generally the better examples that we tend to focus on are going to be open for everyone so it's it's not just a matter of oh well this university has a store room of artifacts or this up this institution this family has some wonderful piece is set aside a loop you'd you'd love if you could see it now a museum is ideally a place that is open to the people in the end in and everyone is allowed to do venture in engage with the materials and right so just the kings a treasure room of like artifacts collected from the you know from the city's he has conquered is not necessarily a museum because that's just his treasure right and you're probably not invited and it's probably better if you're not invite right there that just sounds like like a dangerous place to venture into a you know when i started thinking you just sort of casually at first you know about the history museums that sort of thing okay well what are what are some of the museums and i've been to and how old are they end if everyone else does this exercise says well i think you'll know they you know most of the museums come to mind are products of fairly recent history and obviously this holds true for the various american museums i visited and even the british natural history museum is a product of colonial expansionary wasn't found in the nineteenth century 'em spun off from a private collection in in the end we still see that that kind of movement going on to this day you know we have large private collections that are either a convicted donated to a museum or spun off into a museum of some sort but the oldest museum in the uk for instance the armories and the tower of london only goes back to fifteen ninety two with the public access emerging in sixteen sixty sixty now generally at this point in the podcast you know we talk about what came before they invention what was the world leading up to that yeah and i think probably the best exercise here is to is to and not to try and think of like a world without museums but think of the various things in history that are sort of like a museum but not quite okay so first of all we already mentioned like the kings treasurer right a you know you have conquered many cities and many great lands and maybe you you took artifacts that were sacred to them and then you brought it back to your treasure room and you kept it locked up yourself right yeah it's it's it's it's certainly kind of like a museum but not a museum and we should note i mean the mini museums i mean one of the the sort of like counter points to the good things about a museum is the lots of great museums around the world today do represent a kind of colonial wonder yeah i mean there there are cases where is their objects you know in british museums that are of great historical significance but the you know were were taken from other people around the world by colonial invaders from great britain exactly so yeah they're the kings horde of treasure is is a it's it's not a museum but at the same time it does have a lot in common and i think that's gonna be the case with all these not quite museum examples are gonna touch on you know it's also worth pointing out that you know it's been a long fashionable in in human culture just steal treasures in art from undefeated adversary unstoppable you're mind we had a couple of episodes about the ark of the covenant and of course the stories of the ark of the covenant involve it's a it's captured by the philistines and later it's capturing the in possible destruction by the babylonians and the philistines were said to have displayed the capture dark and their own temple day gone a lot of course you know this we don't know to what extent this you know there's reality behind the surface just missed it cetera but still it it it drives home the like this is this is the sort of thing people did yeah they've they were crusher defeat in enemy sack their cities will they would take a their of their treasured items back with them right now another case from a from history that that's kind of lines up with a with a lot of this or the roman triumphs in which the treasures are wealthy and armies of defeated enemies were marched through the city is a spectacle a you know along with captives a something to be executed or displayed further so sort of you know and even more intense example of sort of the the more brutal aspects of museum like enterprises seemed recalled there's a scene in this titas center onic us i think there's like there's like a parade of enemies yeah yeah like they defeated some germanic driver some right and yeah they're they're the famous accounts of that you know and it's kind of like this awful roman circus of a of a hit the thread rather they're uncomfortable to contemplate and so we we don't want that to be museums but then again like the the shadow of that is cast over even a modern museums and of course in even in just in the last century we we've seen museums rated polluted or destroyed do the military action so you know it's that continues to be the case when when groups of people go to war with each other a treasure is a artifacts items of a historical rickel troll importance a are often targeted now d a room full of artifacts were not only created win say you know a conquering power colonial power something goes and takes from one culture and brings back home people also create rooms full of artifacts from their own culture i mean a common way you find this is in tombs vhs exactly yeah i mean unstoppable remind especially we've discussed the teams of ancient egypt the terms of ancient china a these are these are examples where generally it has to do with the some contemplation of the afterlife or they or at least be idea that if if there is not a world for the ruler to pass into and presumably take their things then there is still some continuation simulation of identity in the body is preserved and therefore worthy be items the wealth all the material possessions some form of them need to be preserved there as well yeah so it's kind of like a museum but for the most part you were not invited to enter into generally it's it's looked down upon yeah it's not designed to serve and educational purpose senate doesn't have interpreted materials these these you're just i'm taking all my luke to the next world right and i might put a crossbow trapped in there just in case you try enter now another we we touched a little bit on on this already us bringing up day gone but a a temple is another example of something that's kind of like a museum a place where valuable and important artifacts may will be displayed for lots of people and if not everybody then at least for a key demographic to view ended meyer and in many cases the works ahrends instructional in nature a means of seeing the form of a god or goddesses or visually contemplating complex theological concepts steps like one sees a particular way in tibet in art i mean i think about these these relics and a bread the ways the many a catholic basilicas will say preserve the remains of a saint did person yeah yeah yeah so we kind of have like a dash of the tomb there as well right but there's something kind of museum me about that is an object from the past it's on display for people come look at yeah yeah and then there's also the shrine which you know give me something like tune in something like a temple but of course they are secular versions of this is well throughout the world i mean you go to washington dc and you have all these you gotta these monuments these essentially shrines in these oftener about celebrating something that is tied to cultural or national heritage large scale statues is well public statues generally a good example of this as well right now speaking of shrine this actually brings us to the word museum itself so a museum derives from the latin a what is it a most ian which means precisely this a shrine to the muse is the news is of course with the greek goddess of creativity in inspiration oh yeah so so so we got a shrine does amuses is the museum and then that becomes the idea of the museum i guess that that word coin probably much later to refer to what we think of this museum right for instance if we go back to the third century bc we have the museum of alexandria consider which included the famed library of alexandria and he was founded by telling me the first soldier and a neutral being who is notre dame of traveling companion in chronicler of alexander the great however the museum in this case was was not a display of collected art buddy center of learning that ultimately has more in common with the university a you know the we might think of today in a this was a seemingly destroyed in the late third century see 'em but yeah more more like a university a place of learning a place where a learn it individuals would gather and celebrate knowledge so you got a lot of stuff kind of like this in ancient world but nothing that is quite like we think of as a modern museum right yeah i mean you can you can make a case that specific museums there museums in general reflect these general attitudes to this day but yeah none of these you can't look at any of these go like oh that wasn't museum and it's like no no is a treasure horder was really more of a temple so indeed museums are serious which seemed to be more of a modern venture right largely rooted in the private wonder rooms are cabinet of curiosities individuals and families had and then the more modern museums tend to emerge out of these traditions in fact if you look around for some of these example they oldest examples of things that are museums a few they're often pop to they're often pop up are they had the capital line museums the oldest public a collection of collection of are in the world a this is in rome dates back to fourteen seventy one end up poked a six just the force donation of art to the people of rome you have the vatican museums have their origin is a public in public display in fifteen o six under poke the julius second but a then we might be tempted to stop there right and say oh well okay well there you go this these somebody earliest examples but a there is much older example oregon to end this episode that a certainly predates anything that happened with the catholic church yeah and this one also i guess is a matter of interpretation because what you define this museum is going to be a matter of interpretation but this is going to be a the earliest known museum according to a the great british archaeologist charles leonard woolley so we don't know for sure win the first museums created but i think there's a really reasonable chance the earliest museum we know about was actually the first one in history a so let's take a journey danged mesopotamia oh yes let's do all right so we're going to go to the city or or was once one of the great power power centers of ancient mesopotamia and if you see photos of the santa covered ruins of the city in this partially restored great vigor out today it might be hard to imagine that this was once like i really thriving lush fertile settlement moment in the ancient world today at situated in the desert of southern iraq about sixteen kilometers or about ten miles from the euphrates river and a and this is a rough measurement calculated through google maps it's about two hundred and fifty kilometers were about hundred and fifty miles of from the coast of the persian gulf and i've read in some sources that in ancient times a or was considered more like a coastal city that i guess the persian gulf stretched farther up a in into where you would now have southern mesopotamia abbott in ancient times euphrates river it took a different course and it ran much closer to the city making it this this lush fertile place that was a this is a great place versity andy it's a place considered the scale of history street because archaeologists believe it was found at some time in the fourth millennium bc so that that's gonna be many thousands of years old the us in their early dynastic period of the ancient sumerian kings or became the capital of soda mesopotamia this would have been around the twenty fifth century bc so to do a history exercise we've some sometimes done stuff to blow your mind before just reminding you like how much time elapsed through the part of the world history that we think of is ancient imagine you're julius caesar and you're living in the first century bc to you as julius caesar these old kingdom of egypt which is like you know twenty five hundred to twenty one hundred bc in the ancient dynasties of mesopotamia hey me i wish you would have been you know roughly the same time those time periods were more ancient to you as julius caesar in the roman republic dan the roman empire is the us while ancient rome is significantly more recent recent us then those ancient civilizations worthy ancient romans more time passed between sar gone of a cod and julius caesar then between julius caesar in us that's the scale of the history of civilization in when you think about all the time all the relics and remains of all those thousands of years coming going it it's hard not to realize the the people who are ancient from our point of view also had to contend with history and the idea of its memory memory it's preservation in its destruction so sometimes history and even the soldier in kind of feel like recently invented concepts they're absolutely not in a great example is emile babylonian king who lives in the city or so this is a man named never need us who is the last real king of babylon before the city of or declined in power in the late sixth century bc in subsequently abandoned over the following decades a so never need us seem to have a great sense of historical consciousness he wanted to revive elements of past civilizations from mesopotamia one of the things we're eating for this episode is an article by a professor of languages and literature of ancient israel's firm acquire university named luis prank an one thing that she pointed out is it a the saint jean king now the neatest is often referred to is sort of like an ancient archaeologist king you sort of like you know one of the first archaeologist just sort of a an ancient indiana jones type here sort of except he's a king so he's got all this power to command with the belongs in a museum mentality 'em so yeah so so this ancient sort of archaeologist king apparently he conducted excavations to retrieve lost written record's from past civilizations of the area a it later in life he attempted to restore the ruins of the great sumerians eager out of order that had cade significantly forget only by his time you may have seen representation their pictures of the cigarette a in in what we're seeing is they restoration of nab anita's restoration of the cigarettes in through several it's got a few different coats of paint on it and that alone you know brings up the question of you know the authenticity with artifacts you know like right like which one is the real ziggurat i mean they're all the garage but but the but the but then you know we you know we have to take into account like how much time has passed to and then when the what the extent that get in our way of understanding the past yeah yeah it's a weird question a to just think about if something was restored in the ancient world after having decades for hundreds of years is that just as original the us basically i mean i dunno it's it's it makes you question the concept of what in original artifact is what is archaeological authenticity and maybe it's some degree a it to some degree undermines the concept of originality which might be a good thing will talk about that later again 'em but yeah so he he attempted to restore the ruins of the great sumerians a garage door he he was also she was a religious revivalists bringing back cult traditions they had long fallen by the wayside specifically he revived the cult of the moon god scene also known and that's spelled like sin like esi in this round scene also known to the ancient sumerians ends is the god non now the city of or has a lot of cool stuff about it over over these you know thousands of years but one of them is that it has some of the most awesome hype priestesses in history i know she's come up on stuff to blow your mind before one of my favorite ancient mesopotamia figures is the earliest known named author of a work of poetry so not necessarily the first poet ever but the first poet in history whose name is recorded unknown to us in this is these ancient agent sumerian poet princess in high priestess in had you wanna oh yes yeah in edwin outlived in or long before never need as she lived in or when it was an ancient sumerian city stayed in the twenty third century bc see under the rule of her father sargon of cod in in tijuana was appointed by sar gone is the high priestess of the goddess in on a in the moon god nona under that might be kind of confusing the goddess is in on in the moon god is just nona and then of course later became scene so technically her title is in in which is they position of religious in politicals significant she refers to herself as the radiant in of non in one of her great works of poetry known to us is known to us today is exultation of in on the goddess which is this amazing poll and the look up a you should especially look up a trans translation of exultation of donna if you're ever trying trying to like work up a real sense of defiance and righteous anger the best stuff a robber would you indulge meter reader few lines certainly okay from the exhortation of donna this is from the translation in the james pritchard addition in nineteen ten seventy five you have filled this land with them like a dragon vegetation ceases when you thunder like you sure you bring down the flood from the mountain supreme one who are being on of heaven and earth who rain flaming fire over the land who have been given the me by on queen who rides the beast okay i got one from later my queen all the great god's flood fled before you like fluttering bats could not stand before you're awesome face could not approach you're awesome forehead who consumed you're angry heart these him zor amazing and they are definitely worth looking up so you've got in head wanna she's the fireball hurling poet of the high priestess of the moon god not in or in the twenty third century bc and then a little less than two millennia later you've got this neo babylonian king nab anita's ruling over or who's looking back into the past an in looking back into the past one thing he decides to do is revive the worship of the moon god not who they now called scene and lights are gone now the neatest appoints his daughter the priestess this of the moon god consulting ancient record's to get details about what this moon priestess role would be like what the the duties would be what the rituals would be a this is a point the price makes in her article is this like looking back into the record's for what the priestesses role would be because he's in a way sort of trying to be the next are gone so who is the the the priest is the daughter of nab anita's who gets this role well her name is in goldie nano also known as bell show teen and unfortunately we know far too little about who in goldie nano was but we do know that in addition to her religious role in goldie nona is record as having been administrator of a school for young priestesses a but so inequality non it was more than just an educator shoe is more than just a princess more than just a high priestess of the moon it's here that we come to the first museum known history because it appears the inequality non out was it's curator and this is a this is fascinating to behold because we have not only you know the you know the the case for the museum but for a strong case for you know why it was created what purpose it served a the ruler of the day yeah exactly so maybe we take a break when we come back we can have a look at the museum today's episode is brought to you by sent 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right we're back were discussing the history of the museum as we know and understand it today and were looking at what may well be earliest example of something that we can reasonably call a museum yeah and and so we should look again at what would be the criteria that right how would we know if we found the first museum in history a because we've discussed before just having a treasure room of artifacts isn't really a museum amine so a museum as understood today has two main parts right and he's got preservation an interpretation you've got objects artifacts litter preserved served and kept on display this preservation aspect and those objects or explained in contextualized by educational interpretation materials you know like the little written placards you find next objects at a museum exhibit today and i think it's also important that it must be cleared the this institution has some sort of public educational purpose right it can't just be like a private thing this just for you right it's about it's about sharing this information with the world and we see that in are you know are are are best examples of museums you know say like a really good science and technology museum is about you know sharing the a passing the torch of of of of scientific inquiry in the end been celebrating what it can do for human civilization and then on the other hand you have say a gay creationist museum which takes a different approach a new buddies ultimately trying to do the same thing right it is it is it is using artifacts facts are supposed artifacts i mean sometimes it's using actual of remnants of the past but then using it to push in a different narrative i guess that's true like even if we judge educational purpose of a museum to be misguided guided and leading the incorrect conclusions i mean i guess build if the goal of it is a is educational according to the people who made it even if that education is you know maybe a look make making your king look good or something right you could consider that form of a museum right i mean certainly even better museums have had to evolve with the times and the great to have you changed the way they represent a particular things from a cultural up even historical standpoint to a you know did either a you know keep up with the with changing norms to correct past errors and then you know and also to to take into account new information about a a these cultures and the time periods they're presenting well yeah that's exactly right i mean one great thing sing about modern museums is you know they can often be a way to see in other cultures that you might not encounter first hand but you know a lot of these exhibits if the museums been around a long time they may have initially been established with the kind of condescending colonialist attitude tutors right that that's sort of shows other cultures but in a way that might not be accurate maybe the looks down on them the doesn't regard them as you know equally valid cultures right i mean it's important to note there like the the basic ideas museum a you know it could be skewed for different purposes i mean there's a difference between the new museum in philadelphia and say hey you know eight circus sideshow a you know just like a display of a reserve a human remains with either no context or faulty contact regarding what a those jars contain there's a difference between an actual museum about say human evolution anta the big foot museum do we have the north georgia mountains right which is a wonderful museum but if it has it has a definite agenda detriment narrative but it's pushing and hopefully a lot of people go there are engaging with the sort of tongue in cheek or people were able to suspend disbelief you know and enjoy but but yeah it's it's a slightly different excerpt of exercise or any roadside attraction of you know from decades past where where something maybe on display that is a you know there's maybe a you know lacking in terms of a it's a you know scientific or historical you know believability right so i guess i'm trying to say is we often think of a museum is a medium as opposed to like message right okay so to get back to end the goldie nona a throughout the nineteen twenties and thirties there british archaeologist named search charles leonard willie who worked on the excavation of these ancient city of or andy nineteen twentyfive willie in his colleagues were excavating abe babylonian palace within ancient city and began to uncover very strange clustering of artifacts within this palace were artifacts from different geographical locations in different periods of ancient history only we arranged together in this one building ended appears this collection is created sometime around the year five thirty bc now the earliest artifacts they found went back almost to the time of sark on and then had to wanna they they went back to about twenty one one hundred bc e a n again i was trying to find a point of comparison ver historical scale so if these people living in the sixth century bc had artifacts from twenty one hundred bc that's like us today having artifacts from the personal effects facts of attila the hun new well invading the western roman empire in the middle of the fifth century see that's the rub the approximate time difference a so what was among this collection of things that will they discovered here in this in this ancient site one thing was partially restored remains of a statue of the great king shoghi of or who ruled in the twenty first century bc an you might remember shoghi came up in our episode about walls actually because shoghi is credited did with the creating one of the first known defensive boundary walls in history the wall he built this known as the wall of the land dorthe am right wall or they keep her at bay of the nomads little on the nose how it was it was designed to defend sumer against tax from new nomadic people's filthy animal rights who lives to the north of them in shoghi while is thought to have been more than a hundred miles long stretching between the tigris in frady's river a end in this this other episode they quoted from an ancient sumerian home which you mentioned it by recalling witness told you how quote the wall of negi extended out over the desert like a bird net you know comparing it to this thing they used actually catch birds and so in this poll from the speaker tigers lamenting how you know there were better days back when they're civilization had been more powerful and more glorious and it was the time of shoghi in this wall but in reality of course these walls did not accomplish the goal of protecting sumer which fell to invasions from the am rights and the film i it's it was not an effective strategy in the end in his own auto biographical writings on the excavation of or charles leonard ruling know something interesting about this statue of shoghi so he describes it quote as a a fragment of deer right statue a bit of an arm of a human figure on which wasn't inscription in the fragment had been carefully trimmed so us to make it look neat in preserve the writing so there appears to be evidence events here of an ancient preservation work to keep the carvings on the statue from being damaged and they keep the logical a also among the things found here was an ancient kassai boundary stone type of artifacts known as cooter now cooter ru or stone boundary markers used in ancient mesopotamia in these things are pretty cool it's kind of like if you could have a stone pillar but they written copy of the deed dear house noting how you got the land in which notaries witness the sale of the property and also possibly containing carvings of god's celestial objects and monsters indefinitely curses full of curses the cooter in in goldie not as museum is from a around fourteen hundred bc and willie noted that it contained in awesome curse against anybody who displaced or destroyed stone so a water these curses lake right i was looking at an example of who drew excavated from tel aviv haba so it's not the same crew but it's curse warning a tells about what you cannot do or else space the curse so it says wins whoever in days become among future men an agent or governor or ruler or anyone or the son of anyone at all to show rise up and then respective that field show make a claim or kausar claimed to be made or she'll say this field was not presented or she'll changed that stone from its place or show casted into the water or into the fire or show break it with the stone or because of these curses show fear and she'll call is a fool or a deaf man or a blind man to take it up and said in a place where it cannot be seen that man shall take away the field may onto the father of the gods cursed him as a pro this covers so i'm about to get into exactly what the curses and the second but i love this it's like okay you cannot erase the wreckage of who owns this field you can't throw it in the water you can't throw it in the fire you can't get a blind person who can't reid these warnings to pick it up for you and do it for you know one one wonders if they were to say this is simply a you know they were just thinking of potential loopholes or if this had been a loophole there was employed fry a hit there was there was a blind individual who is often employed to muck around with people's property rights right okay so here's what happens if you violate this this boundary marker you you tried a movie theater something a here's a little bit of the curse play a the first line has some illusions so it's it's mad dog the lord of the crops do something it's been worn off but after that it gets going maynard goal and his destruction not despair his offspring may shoot mouna and shoe maly a pronounced evil against him mail the gods whose names are mentioned on the stone curson with a curse they cannot be loosened and maybe they commanded he not living single day may not let him know his name nor his seat in your days of drought years of famine made they assigned for his lot before god king lord in prince may his whining u s and may come to an evil and that's a pretty stiff curse yeah okay mayors whining be continuous so a quote from charles leonard willie's own account of the other objects they discovered apart from these two we just explained a quote then came a clay foundation cone alerts the king about seventeen hundred bc then a few clay tablets of about the same date and a large votive stone mace head which was on inscribed but may well been more ancient by five hundred years what rita think here were half a dozen diversity objects found lying on an unbroken brick pavement of the sixth century bc yet the newest of them was seven hundred years older and then the pavement and the earliest perhaps sixteen hundred and so will he writes the evidence made it pretty clear that it was impossible at all these different artifacts would have ended up arranged together like this by accident and he he notes again trimming of the inscription on the shoulder statue which seems like a deliberate act of preservation and then finally came they answer for what they were looking for a woolly writes quote then we found the key a little way apart list small drums shaped clay object and which were for columns of writing the first three columns were in the old sumerian language and the contents of one at least were familiar to us for we had found it on bricks of bore sin king of or or in a two two two zero bc andy other two were fairly similar the fourth column was in late semitic speech d's it said are copies of bricks found in the remains of or the work of burcin king of or which while searching for the ground plan of the temple of the governor or found and i saw in road out for the marvel of the beholder is an willie notes the scribe who wrote this inscription overestimated the accuracy of the copies of these bricks but nevertheless willie recognize the significance of this find quote the room was a museum of local antiquities maintained by the princess bell sheltie norwich remember is another name for inequality nona who took after her father a keen archaeologist in the collection was this clay drum the earliest museum label noon drawing up a hundred years before and kept presumably together with original tunnel bricks as a wrecker of the first scientific excavations at or that's incredible you know to to just a you know imagine these truly ancient people you know someone walking into this room seeing a curious old object and then potentially rating and inscription to see what it was yeah how it factors into their own history yeah yeah it's amazing in the fact i think it's interesting that they've got they've got copy is also notes about copies of things which would be like the way the mini museums today have not necessarily an original artifact reproduction or say a cast of a fossil the my ride easy original thing of course you know the the funny irony there is that many fossils they're not even be original journal bones they write their own they're actually logic castings created by you know without creative a human intervention yeah and i think that's an interesting thing you know we we feel like we need to make the distinction of course it's like well you could have the real thing here you you could ever reproduction of it in in somehow there's this sense among many people i think and i i admit i sometimes feel this i probably shouldn't but i feel like the reproduction is like not as good wouldn't it be better if they're real original thing were there and i i wanna break myself with this thinking by the end of the episode yeah i mean 'cause i found myself caught myself thinking a similar thing about restored works before you know like if you see 'em you know pictures of what the sistine chapel looked like before and after restoration one might be tempted to say well it was it look better before they restored it which is kind of a silly thing the the the thinker say 'em but we get kind of attached to like be the sort of the historical wear and tear on a thing yeah we we get attracted to you know to the ruins end in a we have a at least mixed feelings about restoration efforts i mean we we've talked about before leaving ceptable you write about the parthenon on a like the parthenon is a great example of this because would be original parthenon you have various waves of destruction 'em edition and then considered reconstruction in their voices on different sides and should richard restore the actual parthenon to its former glory of and then if we do have restored to former glory which former glory right now and then likewise we have the the parthenon in nashville tennessee which is i restoration in a model essentially a scale model model of the parthenon you could walk into and and look around i think that's the right model i i don't think they need to go messing around with the ruins of the parthenon but i like the idea of just like building other parthenon elsewhere right but then also there's just simply effort in in preserving right yeah because also you don't wanna just say you know if you have say the ruined remains of some some old building a that is important you also don't want it to continue to erode or should you be open for the to continue into a road i mean it's the question yeah yeah and there's a we were talking about this before we came in on the episode but you know i think in a way there's almost kind of eight eight eight tacit belief in sympathetic magic it makes us like the idea of the original artifact whatever it was we we likely ideas like you know actual artist touched this yeah in or actual person in history war this an reproduction feels less powerful full to us because we buy into some strange form of sympathetic magic right it just doesn't have that magic spark if it wasn't the real thing from the time that somebody actually touch yeah yeah you wanna touch it sometimes you wanna lick an and you're not allowed to put their highest and you have a lot of the suited individuals standing around a ready to intervene if you start pointing a little too close to a particular a work of art or posing yourself you're just a little bit too close to do it is because we we do want interact with it you know we don't wanna we wanna stand in its presence but yeah we also kinda wanna actually physically make contact with it yeah so concerning a in the goldie non as museum of course as we now we've been talking about this would not be the only place where powerful people in ancient world had collected relics of days past you know many kings of the ancient world would have understood old relics and artifacts to be sort of genre of treasured linked in display you're wealth wealth and power but what makes these artifacts in a in a goldie nanos museum really seem like exhibits in the museum is is what will he notes that they were accompanied by carvings the bore interpretive data explanations of what you were looking at end the fact that it was associated with in goldie non a school for young priestesses that sort of some inslee idea the this buildings they museum is likely created with an educational purpose the students we'd go in and look at this stuff in reid about what it was and say like this is their history this is are heritage look at these objects antler i just another passenger i came across there's another book where willie discussed a in a goldie not as museum in commented quote that there should be a collection is altogether in accordance with the antic wherein piety of the age and especially of the ruler never need us who with his daughter this building is probably to be associated it a so he's he's saying that in this age in ancient mesopotamia in the city or a and this would go along with everything we know about and avenue just trying to restore the cigarettes and doing archaeological excavations and all this that there was this spirit of nostalgia you know they were sort of unusually obsessed with the past four or people of their time in place and i wonder what what triggers that you know what clause is a civilization to suddenly take intense interest in preserving in reconstructing the past like napa need us in inequality nona well i wonder if a lot of does come down to sort of like the spatial understanding of things need to be you know in in environment of the past you know the fully comprehended on on on almost animal level yeah i guess so i mean part of one thing i think that's attempting historical interpretation is that we know the the dynasty they created the museum wouldn't last like as i mentioned so this museum is created around the year five thirty bc in the city of or went into declined after the reign of napa need us and was abandoned almost completely sometime in the following decades centuries a this is probably because of local climate change where these frady's river the bed shift is and moved farther away from the city in that combined with drought to basically turn this once fertile power center into this abandoned desert ghost city in so it's tempting i think for us to look at that and say oh you know this this is the end of a long civilization in this area of maybe maybe they since they were at dnd and this is what made them you know the soviet style gic the past and wanna create this first museum like they this is their greatest hits album right but i you know i don't know if that really makes sense because i don't know if they thought they were living toward the end of their dynasty you know that's right i mean a museum doesn't need to weaken easily falling to the line of thinking the museum is a is a place of dead things those things things it is that they're no longer around important only historically but we have plenty museums today there about a you know celebrating things that are alive so rating movements that are still happening in in in are still on finished a we'll be works of art that we talked about this susceptibility blow your mind that are that are had been left unfinished either a just suzy accident accidents of human life or intentionally make some statement about a about the nature trip human progress and so i think it's it's reasonable distinct it some of those elements would very much have been in play in ancient times you know to to realize it like the i mean because we talked about it being used as an educational space yeah so it would have been and you know not they would have had this it would have had a spirit of a of renewal to it i would imagine an educational place in place of religious significance so as part of the school is part of a inequality non us school for priestess right so yeah it makes you wonder about the interplay of the religious impulse also west they desire to preserve and display elements of history yeah all right well on that note we're gonna take a quick break and when we come back we will discuss the legacy of the museum in in some some current ideas about where we stand in regards to the music are you following your passion i'm carla murray the host upside hustlers i talked to people following their passion outside of their regular job everyone either has a side hustle or wants to create a side hustle get inspired to start your own business or just hear the story in hustle of every very sad hassler get motivated woodside hustlers listen and subscribe on the iheartradio app at apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts are back so one thing we sort of mentioned earlier is the you know i i love museums sam's i'm i'm a big fan of you know natural history museums and cultural history museums and they do a really wonderful thing 'em but also you know there are a lot of drawbacks to museums especially some you know how museums used to be i think a lot of museums are doing a lot of work in recent years to try to like a disentangled the nature of their educational exhibits from say you know colonial legacies and stuff like that right into you know do do what needs to be done to honor say you know living thriving cultures that they're artifacts represent yeah so they're important questions to ask about what museums represents today in how you know what role they play first culturally and maybe how they could be made better yeah a lot of it comes down to questions of ownership trip not only who owns a particular item you know this this is this piece of this painting belong to a certain family or no doesn't belong to this museum now does it belonged to the nation in which the museum is house like he goes beyond that it gives in considerations like who owns the past and and who owns the story of the past so we're looking at a an excellent magazine essay on the subject titled who really owns the pass by american archaeologist michael press andy i recommend everyone check this out but some of the key points that michael mixer really worth thinking about here he points out that are are crew way of thinking about heritage a beginning to take shape in the nineteenth century both in the west end in the middle east a the westerners were pretty quick to disregard local emerging laws concerning artifacts a you know considering the attempt by role local rulers lord over the dead and interfere with what they seem to just see is this sort natural migration of artifacts to europe yeah this interpretation of a you know says on one side you know the locals might be saying well we need some laws in place to keep these artifacts from wandering outside of our borders and then they the colonial impulse was more oh no these belong to the world where so this this everybody's heritages the world happens to be in london the world's back in london going to take right back there and also a anti claus is we know them today and really emerged out of the post world war two period so international agreements such as the nineteen nineteen fifty four hey convention in the nineteen seventy nineteen seventy two unesco conventions a place in new emphasis on national sovereignty and on national heritage but still the question remains who owns artifacts of the past in who owns the story if the past because again you can think of the museum as as as medium first story you know there's in in we we often forget this when we really place a lot of trust in say a the matt or the natural history museum you know i think we generally trust these institutions for good reason you know two percent the best interpretation of the history or the science or they or thee artistry is on display in wiessee again various museums make an effort to change their displays the honor and involving understanding of the past or to honor living cultures they depicted cetera but press points out the window nation nation nation states themselves only artifacts owned the pass they used these treasures to push nationalistic agenda so michael press writes quote governments increasingly looked to remains of the distant past bolstering national identities any sense of greatness or marginalized disfavored groups so dumb hussein used the ruins of babylon spread ideas of racks greatness as well as his own even portraying himself as a modern never condenser china's leadership has used archaeology project national national greatness onto the distance legendary past today india's prime minister narendra modi's hindu nationalist government has worked user archaeology approved the modern hindus can trace their dissent from the earliest inhabitants of india so you put this sort of thing in place and you know you he says you actually invite looting you actually invite to the damage because history is made the survey engines of nationalism or or what have you you know looting becomes a potential active resistance an we've actually seen this he points out an example you know one example would be the destruction of monuments in syria in iraq by isis and then on the other side of the equation you know the whole colonial movement was steeped in arguments of these were items of global heritage and and this is used to justify defy removing artifacts from native lands seattle i mean i i like the idea that there were things there you know the common heritages humankind for history but what does that actually mean in practice ryan you say okay in practice it's the common heritages humankind so that means will take it somewhere in europe or the united states right i mean 'cause yes when you when you look at the the movements of culture when you look at even they early migrations of human beings you could make a case to say well these artifacts endear part of my culture as well they're part of my heritage's well but it's another thing to say that means that they need to be relocated to a two year city you know right or country or that you know you're nation has accumulated claim to it but then again is is he wants it's on this article you know it gets this is still a very complicated a scenario you bring in a you know the fact that you have a day and age you have people from various nations spread all over the world and and so it's not always as simple as this cultural groups stole this cultural groups belongings sometimes it is well yeah i mean it it's weird because it's hard to say who owns the past but then again something definitely feels wrong about just say a colonial power taking artifacts from one country and then taking them back to the home right absolutely another side of the city points out that i hadn't really thought about is it in some cases you have a designated unesco world heritage sites that you know these places where it is a place of of very important historical significance of the needs to be preserved also ends up being kind of thing people wanna visit and that could actually impact local communities forcing the removal of people either to you know to to allow the study of this location or to make way for developments associated with the sites new historical significance oh yeah end in then then you throw a various other a political factors into the mix and it gets even more complicated points out that in the case of syria multiple parties have used heritage as a weapon of war a obviously isis but also brings up a a russia and even the united states using a you know celebrations of of of archaeological materials is being sort of part of the overall messaging associated with whatever side of the the politicals scenario the player happens to be on any d does drive home that it is it it's messy you know when you have all these different factors playing into the the past and these artifacts in the past but he points out the cultural heritage experts proposed several ideas for a better future of museums and i so just to to run through them really quickly the three main points are a number one give more control to local communities not national interests those sort of on the ground with people rather than with national governments writes the second one is to reduce the importance of original a which we talked about a little earlier oh yeah this this one is a tricky one to think about i'm one of the reasons is thirty points out the you know in in there's this high western priority placed on leave original item the original work of already original carvings etc but he we you know we have long sing a different approach and eastern cultures which were more about just you know preserving and recreating the thing itself the work itself legos more about the the messaging the work 'em but it but it it it is you know is is someone who loves museums you know it is hard to get past that like there is something really awesome about standing in the presence of be actual work or they you know they actual 'em remains that have been transported here a but then when you take into account all these other factors we've been discussing you you do have to ask yourself well would it really make it any less impressive if it was just a really fantastic a rick creation of a particular worker particular carving i mean certainly when you get into sculptures it's a it's a lot easier like i i can easily see that being the case like do i really need the actual let's say it's a statue of david a new do i need that transported over hit a look at her what if it was just a perfect copy i think i think i would be happy with that and if i'm happy with that a would not apply to various other a museum artifacts is well especially the context is really good if the narrative is really good yeah i mean i think that is something that you know people who are the audiences this is from museums should try to adapt themselves to be more satisfied with high quality rick creations and a you know a casts and you know it all kinds of things that don't necessarily involve having the physical fickle original there yeah especially now when you're gonna have all those additional information you have pictures of the original videos of the original additional a technological interactions with the media about the original piece but then you also have this physical up a recreation you can enjoy as well yeah exactly oh the third point that he makes though is that we should rethink v idea of heritages as property at all we should have something along the lines of open access heritage again in a very interesting but also potentially challenging way to think about it like forces the turn some of our experiences of museums on their head a and but but i could i could see that working though because certainly some of the the trickier parts of all of this is just the treating heritage as something that is a that is property in their property rights tied up with it and then say museum just cannot return a particular artifacts to the these the culture it came from because of some sort of a property property issue oh i thought about that but yes i guess sometimes things are probably on loan to museums from people who supposedly owned them right but like why does that person own them it might be because you you know somebody way down the line stole it and then left them or gave it to you know yeah or they just acquired if not through like like outright an obvious a military or colonial treachery then perhaps through you know an economic pressures that would not have been there had not been pretty colonial influence to begin with yeah this is a difficult issue it definitely worth giving thought to especially if you're a person who frequents museum yeah and really only only scratched the surface here on on this issue because they're also additional layers to consider with the with the you know archaeological artifacts such as a what a limb meskel calls negative heritages what do you do about a i'm a historical artifacts tied up with a you know a lot of negative aspects of society you know maybe it's tied to say you know racist ideology is there something what do you do with those artifacts how do you treat them i think one possible answer there is that you you have make sure that the context of the museum that is presenting them you know it's taking all that into account a but anyway as as as as michael dry something like this is still another complicated area when we we we try to figure out exactly where the museum is headed in the future yeah all right well on that note we're gonna have gotten close this one out but obviously we'd love to hear from everybody we know your favorite museums you would like to a a mentioned on the to to us perhaps we've been to them as well or maybe you point out some new smaller museum we've never even heard of them will be able to put that on our radar for a future travels as always if you wanna support the show the best thing you can do is rate and review us wherever you have the power to do so make sure you subscribe do invention is well it just tell your friends about it is the next time somebody asking around hey what if some good podcast listen to throw are named in the mix a you know alternately that that word of mouth that really makes all the difference huge thanks as always to are excellent audio producer tari harrison indoor gas producers day my coal if you'd like to get in touch with us with feedback on this episode or any other suggestions topic with the future let us know about your favorite museum or just to say hi you can email us at contact step invention pod dot com then genetic production i heart radio podcast i heart radio and the iheartradio app apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows everybody would really love a good cooking show around here now they're just so many wonderful coronary podcast returned to his well and the latest is through three sixty with mark murphy is a celebrity chef and

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