What happens when a museum outlives the worldview of its founder? For publicly funded museums with collections amassed during the Empire that no longer reflect the perspectives of a post-imperial multiracial audience, it’s a difficult question.
For the Fitzwilliam Museum, there’s an added embarrassment: the £100,000 bequest from Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam with which it was endowed and built in 1816, was based on an inheritance from the Anglo-Dutch merchant Matthew Decker, Fitzwilliam’s grandfather and a founding director of the South Sea Company that transported more than 50,000 captured Africans across the Atlantic in the first half of the 18th century....
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