What’s the point of museums? (Medium)


Many museums have been criticised for stealing ancient treasures during imperial times and that these items, such as the famous Parthenon marbles, should be returned. Beth and Neil discuss the controversial role of museums in the 21st Century and teach you related vocabulary.

This week’s question

The Natural History Museum in London, features a grand entrance hall which, for decades, contained an impressive life-size model of a dinosaur. But what was this iconic dinosaur’s name?

a) Dippy the Diplodocus

b) Terry the Terradactyl

c) Tyrone the Tyrannosaurus

Listen to the programme to find out the answer. 


object of historical importance or interest, especially one which is very old

people who lived by hunting and collecting food in the wild, instead of by farming crops

(move) up the ladder
advance; make progress

onwards and upwards
becoming better and better; improving

display of a collection of artefacts in a museum, or paintings in an art gallery

several different things being connected or related to each other

Lắng nghe và điền vào chỗ trống:

Cloze Test



Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. Im Neil.


And Im Beth.


has many tourist attractions, from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace. Would it surprise you to hear that many tourists’ destination is actually a museum? The British Museum contains thousands of important artefacts  � objects of special historical interest, ancient Egyptian mummies, an Aztec serpent, and the Rosetta Stone. In fact, London has museums on every subject, from to fashion.


But recently many museums have been criticised for stealing ancient treasures during imperial times  � age of the British empire. Many argue that these treasures, such as the famous Parthenon marbles and Benin bronzes, be returned. In this programme, well discuss the controversial role of museums in the 21


, and as usual, well be learning some useful new vocabulary as well.


But first, I have a for you, Beth. Another of Londons most visited museums, The Natural History Museum, features a grand entrance hall which, decades, contained an impressive life-size model of a dinosaur. But what was this iconic dinosaurs name? Was it:

) Dippy the Diplodocus?

b) Terry the Terradactyl? or,

c) Tyrone Tyrannosaurus?


Ah, I think the answer is Dippy the Diplodocus.


OK, Beth. Ill reveal the later in the programme. Anthropologist, Professor Adam Kuper, has written a new book, The Museum of Other People, which the idea that many museum artefacts were stolen and should be given back. Here he speaks to BBC Radio programme, Thinking Allowed, about two sides of the debate: one which saw European culture as superior, and another which ’.

Prof Adam Kuper

These are the two great ideologies of the imperial age. One is that all societies from a very rough base… Were allour ancestors were hunter-gatherers at one stage, and then they go through the of farming, industry… all this while theyre getting smarter and smarter, their brains are getting bigger and bigger, and moving from primitive magic to sophisticated religion, then maybe on to science. So, it's onwards and upwards. And that's imperial idea… and were going to help these other poor benighted people up the ladder with us. And opposed this there's this other 19 century ideology which says, ‘no��, this is an imperialist myth. We have our own . There are no better or worse cultures, there are just national cultures’.


Imperialists believed that mankind progressed stages, starting as hunter-gatherers  � people who lived before the invention of farming, and survived by hunting and collecting in the wild. According to this view, white European culture was best because it was the most advanced, so was their duty to help local cultures up the ladder, meaning to advance or make progress. Adam Kuper uses phrase, onwards and upwards to describe a situation where things are improving, becoming better and better.


Of , things didnt get better for everyone, especially the people whose land and possessions were stolen. An opposing view argued each culture is unique and should be valued and protected.


The legacy of colonialism is now being debated, but the question of returning stolen artefacts remains complex. Firstly, since many of these treasures are hundreds of old, to whom should they be returned? Whats more, the history behind these objects is complicated. In the case the Benin bronzes, for example, questions can be asked about the actions of local leaders, as well as the powers.


So how can museums display their artefacts to reflect this complex history. Heres Professor Kuper sharing ideas with BBC Radio 4’s, Thinking Allowed.

Prof Adam Kuper

I want to see a lot more temporary and the kinds of exhibitions that I would be interested in are not about one particular tradition, but about relationships between different cultural traditions. Everything is interconnected. Of course, these connections are sometimes violent, sometimes oppressive, sometimes very , sometimes very painful. But things are changing.


An exhibition is a display showing a collection of artefacts. Kuper wants exhibitions to tell truthful stories by showing the relationships between cultures, and how events are interconnected  � or related to each other. And these stories must include all cultures, going back almost to the dinosaurs.

And speaking of dinosaurs, Neil, its time for you to reveal the answer to your question: what was the of the famous dinosaur which greeted visitors to Londons Natural History Museum? I said it was Dippy the Diplodocus.


Which was the correct answer! The 26-metre-long dinosaur was displayed from 1905 until 2017 when it was replaced the skeleton of a female blue whale promisingly named, Hope. OK, lets recap the vocabulary weve learned starting with  � anobject of historical significance.


Hunter-gatherers were people who lived by hunting and collecting wild food rather farming.


If someone moves up the ladder, they advance or make progress.


The phrase onwards upwards describes a situation where things are getting better and better.


An exhibition is a display of in a museum or paintings in an art gallery.


And finally, the adjective interconnected describes separate things are connected or related to each other. Once again, our time is up. Join us again soon for more topics. Goodbye, everyone!





created with the online Cloze Test Creator © 2009 Lucy Georges


Chưa có bình luận