Shrunken Heads Out at Univ Oxford.Hugh Warwick.Pitt Rivers Mus

A museum at the University of Oxford in England has finally bowed to public pressure to eliminate colonialist artifacts – in this case shrunken human heads – from its Pitt Rivers Museum. “Our audience research has shown that visitors often saw the museum’s displays of human remains as a testament to other cultures being ‘savage’, ‘primitive’ or ‘gruesome’,” museum director Laura Van Broekhoven said. “Rather than enabling our visitors to reach a deeper understanding of each other’s ways of being, the displays reinforced racist and stereotypical thinking that goes against the museum’s values today.” That alleged audience research has been going on for three years now, and the criticism didn’t start in 2017; Oxford holds 2800 human remains looted from indigenous peoples all over the world. (Hugh Warwick/Pitt Rivers Museum)

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