Friday, 12 June 2020

A Museum of Military Medicine or another glorification of Empire?

The idea of a building  military medicine museum at Cardiff Bay.  would appeal to me if was one that covered all of history , including ancient history . It is said that Alexander paid doctors a bonus for saving the lives of his troops.

It would be fascinating to see the development of such a history , particurly the contribution of  Arab medicine over the years.

But it looks like that it will concentrate more of the Military (i.e British Military History) and will be there for propaganda reasons and a glorificarion of Empire.

A row has escalated over plans to build a military medicine museum at Cardiff Bay.

Wales Online reports that 

Architects are planning to build a four-storey museum at Britannia Park, next to the Norwegian Church on Harbour Drive. The site for the new Museum of Military Medicine — currently based in Aldershot, Surrey — was previously considered for a major redevelopment of 200 flats, bars and restaurants.

Neighbours raised fears the museum plans would mean losing green space at the park.
Huw Thomas, the leader of Cardiff Council, has defended the decision to redevelop the area.
In 2018, the council bought the land for £3.1 million to save it from the unpopular Dolffin Quay plans — the 24-storey wedge-shaped block of flats — because of concerns about the loss of the park.
Cllr Thomas said: “We intervened, met with the then-landowner, persuaded them not to proceed with the development, and instead sell the land to us. So we saved Britannia Park, and avoided a 24-storey monster on the water's edge.”

To cover the costs of buying the park, the council now wants to give the land to the museum — but will not be contributing financially to the relocation or ongoing revenue costs. Addressing fresh concerns the museum would mean losing the park, Cllr Thomas said the “loss of parkland is minimal”
But he insisted if the museum isn’t built, the council could have to cut back on spending on schools or cycle lanes.
He said: “My primary motivation in all of this — now achieved — was to save a park from becoming a block of flats. Politics is where dreams meet reality, and compromise is often required.”
Another museum at Cardiff Bay shut down in 2016 due to lack of funding - the Butetown History and Arts Centre.
Plaid Cymru MS Leanne Wood said the plans for the museum were ill though out.
"For Cardiff Council to watch the Butetown History and Arts Centre close due to lack of funds in 2016, only to welcome the Museum of Military Medicine to the area, is an insult to the people who belong there," she argued.
“Cardiff is not a military town, and it just does not make sense to have a museum glorifying warfare there. What it does have is a rich history, but this is rapidly being pushed aside in the seemingly frantic gentrification of the Cardiff Bay area.”
Nasir Adam, from Butetown, is a curator of Welsh black history.
He said: “A successful museum provides a clear link to the lived experience of local residents. Whose history and culture is being told in the Museum of Military Medicine? If people can’t see themselves represented in museums, they are not going to want to be a part of that.
However, the council could reopen the Butetown History and Arts Centre.
Cllr Thomas said: “I wasn't leader in 2016 when the Butetown History and Arts Centre closed. If I was, I hope things may have ended differently. I agree that we need more that celebrates Cardiff's history.”
He added the council wants to also build a modern art gallery at the bay and expand the Wales Millennium Centre.

Cardiff his home to one of the oldest Black communities   and was a main focal point  along with Liverpool  of (Negroes in Britain A Study of Racial Relations in English Society )(yes I know) by K L Little published  in 1972 though dated now probably the first in depth study of immigration.

I hope that the move to have a museum , that reflects the experiance of the people of Cardiff Bay and as we are now talking about statues the propossed one of Betty Campbell MBE (6 November 1934 – 13 October 2017) was a community activist and Wales' first black head teacher. Born into a poor household in Butetown, she won a scholarship to the Lady Margaret High School for Girls in Cardiff. She later took the opportunity to train as a teacher and in due course become head teacher of Mount Stuart Primary School in Butetown. She put into practice innovative ideas on the education of children and was actively involved in the community would be perfect to front it.

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