Miscellany | Published:


    Naturevolume 100pages348351 (1918) | Download Citation



    THE trustees of the British Museum have been given notice by the Government that the museum is to be requisitioned as the headquarters of the Air Board. This decision will be received with dismay by everyone who possesses intellectual interests or understands the value of the collections in the galleries of the great building at Bloomsbury. To pack up and store away the many fragile objects in the museum in order to prepare the galleries for occupation means ruin to the specimens, and the ruthless undoing of careful organising work of many years. Sir Arthur Evans, president of the British Association, and one of the trustees of the museum, writes to the Times of January 2 to protest against the wanton sacrifice of national treasures involved in the hurried removal of specimens from their cases, or the alternative of letting them remain while the building is used as the headquarters of a combatant department. “Even the bare statement of this proposal,” he remarks, “will cause a shudder to run through all civilised countries. Were it carried out it would cover the British nation with lasting obloquy. I write this with the hope that even at the eleventh hour the Government may recoil from a step which could not but provoke a deep and widespread indignation.” If the British Museum represented the last extremity in housing the Air Board, the occupation of the building would have to be accepted as an inevit able consequence of conditions of war. We have not, however, reached a degree of national stress which would justify the outrage now contemplated; and we trust that immediate steps will be taken to induce the Government to find a domicile for the Air Board without dismantling our national museum and ruirAig many of the priceless treasures collected within its walls.

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