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The Proposed Closing of Museums

Nature volume 96, pages 626627 (03 February 1916) | Download Citation



AS we write, there are rumours that the Government is reconsidering the question of the closing of museums, at all events as regards the Natural History Museum, but, whatever be the ultimate decision, the whole affair has been a moral victory for museums, especially for those illustrative of science. We might have gone on for years without suspecting this warm appreciation on the part of the public; but the mere threat of a temporary closing has aroused a hurricane of protest, remarkable alike for the variety and vigour of its expression and for the number of interests and classes represented. One of the advantages of a non-party Government seems to be that it elicits the real opinion of the nation, and surely it is long since a Government proposal has been rejected with so near an oapproach to unanimity. Its supporters in the Press have included Mr. Evelyn Cecil, whose unhappily chosen parallels of football, foxhunting, and racing only make more clear the essential educational value of museums; and Mr. Harold Cox, who quotes Madame de Maintenon to the effect that we all advocate retrenchment except when it affects ourselves. This is true, but when everybody cries out, it is because the interest attacked has become almost a necessity of life.

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