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Some artefacts at Guildford Museum could be returned to their 'place of origin'

3 minute read
Some artefacts at Guildford Museum could be returned to their 'place of origin'

Published at 7:49am 29th July 2020.

Guildford Borough Council has revealed it is going to be reviewing the historical artefacts at the Guildford Museum. 

The council has described the audit as a way to 'decolonise' its collection. 

The review follows months of anti-racism demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd who died after being arrested by police in the US. 

The council says each item will be looked at in terms of where the museum received the object from, how it was obtained and whether it should be returned it to its place of origin to be displayed there. 

In a statement, the council said having this information will allow it to give the full background of the object and explain in more depth to residents and visitors any links to our colonial history:

"Although we have made great strides in the equality agenda in this country, and transformative progress has unquestionably been made over the last two decades, it is important that we recognise prejudice still exists and we still have some way to go. 

"We need to have all the facts so that we can be clear when we explain the history in context.

"For example, this may mean some items came here as part of the slave trade, have family connections to plantations or seafarers involved in slavery.

"When we start to review the collection in this way with the renewed interest in discovering these connections with the past we will have a better understanding of the full history."

Lead Councillor for Environment, James Steel explains:

"The murder of George Floyd last month sent visible shock waves around the world.

"The act highlighted the many deaths and mass injuries suffered by black people in America. It has acted as a call to action for the injustice suffered by black people throughout the world.

"The resulting protests have also shone a light on the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the BAME community.’

‘I attended the Black Lives Matter protest in Guildford on the 6 June along with over 800 other Guildford residents.

"It was powerful to see that even in leafy Surrey there was a build-up of anger and a desire to see a change in the way people of different skin colour are treated in society at large.’

"Our vision is to shine a light on our borough’s incredible history making it accessible to all of our residents and visitors.

"There is much to be done to break down the barriers facing the BAME community and to tackle conscious and unconscious bias to empower those who feel restricted or unheard – and we are listening.

"This project shows how as a Council we are constantly challenging ourselves putting equality of opportunity at the forefront of policy and decision so that together we make sure our borough is a place where not one person is discriminated against.’ 


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