Statement from British Museum Director Hartwig Fischer to The Telegraph“
We have pushed him off the pedestal. We must not hide anything. Healing is knowledge. Dedication to truthfulness when it comes to history is absolutely crucial, with the aim to rewrite our shared, complicated and, at times, very painful history. The case dedicated to Hans Sloane and his relationship to slavery is a very important step in this.”
The bust of Sloane has been moved from prominent display to an exhibit that provides information about his slave ownership and his contribution to Britain. Sloane funded his collection of artefacts from profits made on his wife’s sugar plantation. When Sloane died he bequeathed many of his belongings to the nation, with a large selection of these stocking the British Museum.
‘For the first time, we are bringing this enslaved African story into this conversation. They would not, at that point in time, be able to bring their own voices and narratives to it, other than Sloane himself documenting and writing about it, from his perspective’ – Miranda Lowe— British Museum (@britishmuseum) August 22, 2020