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Museums: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


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  • silver megaman
    silver megaman 5 ай бұрын +15147

    I once saw that someone said that the only reason Egypt still has the pyramids is that they were too big to be moved to Britain

    • TheAudJob
      TheAudJob Күн бұрын

      @Jessica B except unless you're Coptic or Nubian you're descended from colonizers

    • TheAudJob
      TheAudJob Күн бұрын

      I mean modern Egypt has no connection to ancient Egypt (most modern Egyptians descend from Arab colonizers, unless you're Coptic or Nubian) so it's a bit more of a grey area

    • Bart Joy
      Bart Joy 20 күн бұрын

      @MrSmiles9000 Was the tip of the pyramid still there when Napoleon visited?

    • Sheila Holmes
      Sheila Holmes 21 күн бұрын


  • mythology2467
    mythology2467 3 ай бұрын +1351

    My mum who is a chronic fox news watcher was still unsure after this and it only took a "imagine if the lady of lourdes statue of Mary was sawn off at the feet to be put on display in Kenya, how livid you and all of fox news would be" to get her to understand how not ok all of this is.

    • How to change name?
      How to change name? Күн бұрын

      @GALAKTOAST and you can decide the final resting too, just like all those artifacts

    • rechitsapivo
      rechitsapivo 10 күн бұрын

      @Masterraccoon Hmm, nothing wrong with having conservative views.

    • Joseph N
      Joseph N 11 күн бұрын

      Unfortunately with chronic issues like that, you may need to take her to the vet to be put down. :/

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @rechitsapivo it’s heavily republican. Therefore filled with conservative views.

  • SoISaysToMabel
    SoISaysToMabel Ай бұрын +64

    I was horrified to learn that at Hunterian Museum in London, the bones of Charles Byrne aka the Irish Giant were on display from 1799 until this year. He was at least 7 ft 7 in. Because he was considered a freak, he was worried that after death his bones would be put on display. He’d be denied dignity after death and be gawked at, a permanent dead man under glass for all to view.
    His dying wish was for his body to be buried at sea. Instead his corpse was stolen and he was gawked at for over two hundred years. Though he is no longer on display, the museum still has his stolen bones “for research” into his genetic “deformities.”
    This was Byrne’s worst fear. He will probably never be buried at sea. They will just further deny him dignity and defile his remains.
    Sorry, Indie. I’m not sure if anything “belongs in a museum.”

    • Redjed's Vlogs
      Redjed's Vlogs 16 күн бұрын +4

      Paintings and statues and printed models of paintings and statues belong in museums. Human remains do not.

    • A P
      A P 21 күн бұрын +2


    • Malcolm O'Beirn
      Malcolm O'Beirn 22 күн бұрын +7

      And just recently they refused to give the remains back to his descendants so they could bury him properly

  • Shirley777
    Shirley777 3 ай бұрын +1014

    I like the idea of museums returning original objects, but also displaying reproductions. I like even better the idea of having craftspeople in the originating countries create reproductions for museums. That way it supports the continuation of the original crafts, and improves understanding of the cultural significance of the objects. But only if the craftspeople are decently paid for their work, which should go on display, not be kept in a box in storage.

    • Ophelia of the Ripples
      Ophelia of the Ripples 9 күн бұрын

      Amen. Halleluja.

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @Paw Small 🤓🤓🇬🇧

    • CGoodwin
      CGoodwin 12 күн бұрын

      This sounds like a suitable way to provide a win-win in this situation. If the museums aren't able to curate ethically-sourced reproductions, perhaps video of the previous display and other visual text and explanation of the objects would suffice. Interactive displays of any sort are solid in providing an educational experience for the museum visitor.

    • Macarons n Cheese
      Macarons n Cheese 13 күн бұрын +1

      This, and in the case of artifacts that can't be returned (because as someone who's worked with museum collections, albeit fossil ones, unfortunately sometimes there's very valid reasons why they can't), museums should go out of their way to bring in researchers from the culture to work with those artifacts, because keeping items in ideal condition to be studied and thereby better appreciated is the point of collections.

  • S C
    S C 2 ай бұрын +227

    You have no idea how many museums and artifacts have ended up returned because of this episode. It's so amazing what someone with a platform can actually do just by telling a true story.

    • Beest
      Beest 21 сағат бұрын +1

      @olive Thanks...sincerely

    • olive
      olive 8 күн бұрын +11

      @hummusdifierjust googled, looks like a lot. some returned to Italy, to Yemen, Cambodia … keywords I used were “artifacts returned” and it’s all from 2023

    • CB MK
      CB MK 21 күн бұрын

      ​@D Sandoval 😂😂😂

    • D Sandoval
      D Sandoval 29 күн бұрын +29

      ​​@FLdancer00 Well, she wasn't wrong. We _don't_ know how many artifacts were returned because of this episode.

  • Jerry Jesseph
    Jerry Jesseph Ай бұрын +96

    A number of years ago, our family visited the British Museum. While we were looking at the Rosetta Stone, my young son asked a guard, "Did you guys steal all this stuff?" The guard's reply was, "Well. I suppose we did."

  • Sunni Rae
    Sunni Rae 5 ай бұрын +13763

    Lets all appreciate that HBO puts all LWT episodes in almost their entirety for free on youtube without a shitton of ads.

    • Keith Panton
      Keith Panton Ай бұрын

      @mellow joni Sadly facts with swearing is deemed far more dangerous than lies without any rude words.

    • Julie Mac
      Julie Mac Ай бұрын


    • Ravi Everett
      Ravi Everett Ай бұрын

      I have HBO max and watch it here for the comment section

    • randomnobody playthrough
      randomnobody playthrough Ай бұрын

      We do.

  • Adora Tsang
    Adora Tsang 4 ай бұрын +636

    "We keep these loots because we can take better care of them."
    The British Museum cut up a 1000-year old Chinese silk scroll, because it was too long for their European picture frames. You can see them in pieces, the ends were just thrown out.

    • Caterina Taylor
      Caterina Taylor Күн бұрын

      @Collin McLean if dey didnt take care of keeping things good den y did dey put in museums in a glass case.n if dey didnt care dey wld have lobg thrown in away .

    • Michael Downey
      Michael Downey 17 күн бұрын +2

      Didn't the Rijksmuseum also do something similar with The Night Watch, chopping off bits so it could be displayed in the Amsterdam Town Hall?

    • Toykio
      Toykio 23 күн бұрын +8

      This is factually wrong and misleading. It was not cut up because it was too long for the frames, but because of false perception during the preservation and the museums close ties to Japanese curators which used different techniques. Also you should name the piece of art you are talking about when making such claims.
      For anyone more interested the piece in question is "Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies" and 100histories100worlds has a great in-depth write up about the artwork and its history.

  • MasseyKY
    MasseyKY 3 ай бұрын +116

    Seeing those Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people looking at their history that has been locked away in a basement is one of the saddest things I've seen in a long time.

    • TI99Kitty
      TI99Kitty 4 күн бұрын

      And that shiteating grin on the guy that's showing those things to them was pretty infuriating.

  • Arrianne
    Arrianne 3 ай бұрын +540

    This is so funny because me and my boyfriend was just at the Natural History Museum in London where there were corals that were labelled, "Corals illegal smuggled from the Philippines". My boyfriend being British (I'm Filipino) said, "I can't believe they would just snitch on themselves like that."

    • Laura Walker
      Laura Walker 2 ай бұрын

      If these things were left in Africa etc they wouldn't exist anymore

    • Moses MM
      Moses MM 2 ай бұрын +4

      It's arrogance, they know it's stolen, you know it's stolen, we all know it's stolen. But that won't mean they'll return it.

  • Syn TheWrathful
    Syn TheWrathful 3 ай бұрын +310

    The motto of these Museum’s is essentially “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too. If you shake my hand better count your fingers.”

    • Syn TheWrathful
      Syn TheWrathful 16 күн бұрын

      @TheHawth You have no idea how happy I am that someone got the reference.

    • TheHawth
      TheHawth 2 ай бұрын +1

      Did not expect a reference to friggin' Megadeth in the comments section of a Last Week Tonight video.

    • Edriss Scofield
      Edriss Scofield 2 ай бұрын +3

      Now THAT's a motto you can set your watch to

    • Ting Lee Hoong
      Ting Lee Hoong 3 ай бұрын

      This is worse than Communism LOL

  • Doug McIntyre
    Doug McIntyre 3 ай бұрын +142

    "I'm serious give me a number for how long after his death it's okay to have a part of someone's body sweating in your Museum's hot storage." Yeah this one hit me.

    • John Doe
      John Doe Ай бұрын +1

      The basic answer in archaeology is, as long as the living direct descendants know where the grave is. American burials are dug up ALL the time if there aren't descendants.

    • Laneswitched
      Laneswitched Ай бұрын

      @Me Here 1) what europe does is irrelevant to the situation in the us
      2) white remains do end up in storage. Most famously the 9/11 museum. But, if a skeleton is found and investigators/coroners deem it historic, the analysis gets kicked to a university or archaeological office. BEFORE race is determined. It doesnt matter if its a civil war era white or ancient native remains. It is the responsibility of museums/universities/collections facilities. THAT is how remains enter storage. If you don't understand that, your yelling means nothing
      3) it is actually easier to keep white remains than native remains. In the 90s, a federal law was passed stating that any remains belonging to a federally recognized tribe had to be listed on a registry and repatriated. This law is where focus should be if people are actually upset, as it is incredibly flawed (notice the use of the phrase federally recognized tribe - not all are). Historic white/black/asian remains do not fall under this law and do not have to be repatriated. What happens to these remains is up to the discretion of the facility. Here is another spot to focus on
      4) private citizens keep remains all the time. When they are siezed, where do you think they go if they are deemed historic? To a collections facility. Here is another spot to focus if you dont like it
      5) you seem passionate but you have little understanding. I responded to the initial question because, as far as how remains are handled in the us, the question is asked and answered. Its the wrong question. And you are focusing on the wrong things - what the british do or did is irrelevant. Big inflammatory historical things like shrunken heads are irrlevant. What matters is this - bodies are found every day. Construction, erosion, natural disasters etc work to raise them out of the ground. There is a chain of custody established to deal with this daily occurance bc something has to happen to bodies that are found.
      6) please name any famous person of any race exhumed by the us to put on display. And again, i dont care what europeans did. If youre trying to apply european actions to the us again, you show a lack of understanding. This is because mishandling of remains is a race issue, and race issues are incredibly different between the us and europe

    • Laneswitched
      Laneswitched Ай бұрын

      @Me Here my guy im just pointing out that this question has a legal answer. Important information for anyone looking to change the system, no?

    • Laneswitched
      Laneswitched Ай бұрын

      @Me Here my guy im just pointing out that this question has a legal answer. Important information for anyone looking to change the system, no?

  • Golden_Flute
    Golden_Flute 5 ай бұрын +3651

    Gotta love the logic of the British Museum Act of 1963 being like "we made a law that says we can't give you back stuff that we stole from you."

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @Franklin I’m not gonna lie, you ballin yo eyes out with this one.

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @A3 Radio Fr, this is nice.

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @Planet NRON what?

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @Franklin oh. You trolling🤦‍♂️😭😭 man you baited my goofy ahhhh, cause ain’t no sane person got these thoughts.

  • hedgehog3180
    hedgehog3180 3 ай бұрын +113

    One really funny thing is that there is a head of a statue from the Acropolis in the Danish National Museum and it has a little plaque next to it saying "the rest of the statue can be found in the British Museum" and then if you go to the British Museum they talk about the head as if Denmark somehow specifically stole it from them and they're really pissy about it. It's hilarious to see just how much they hate it when they taste their own medicine.

    • The Boulder
      The Boulder 3 ай бұрын +2

      @Sam well the French have the Bayeux Tapestry

    • Sam
      Sam 3 ай бұрын +12

      Honestly if a country such as Greece or Nigeria stole the Bayeux Tapestry or the Magna Carta and put it in their museums you could imagine just how pissy the British would get and it would be the most hilarious thing ever!

  • Constance De Martino
    Constance De Martino 3 ай бұрын +79

    I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was this bad. I've visited The Met often, but I can't see how I can return with a clear conscience. This was absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you John Oliver for the wake up call.

    • Kehy Crawford
      Kehy Crawford 3 ай бұрын +7

      Many smaller local museums, particularly those that focus on local history are typically much more conscious of their collections origins, and at least in this area, work closely with native peoples. The ability of a museum to preserve, record, and make available history, art, and culture can be a powerful tool for empowering others. The Library of Congress is the largest museum I would still hold to that standard (though it inevitably has skeletons in its closet)

  • VINsational331
    VINsational331 3 ай бұрын +296

    The last sketch should be a movie. I would watch the shit out of that. It could be fun like a mixture of Monuments Men and Ocean's Eleven and Tower Heist but then could have dark and cathartic elements like in Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained to drive the point home. Somebody make this!

    • Shyda Ambler
      Shyda Ambler 2 ай бұрын +2

      Totally would be like a cool remake of night at the museum with Ben Stiller and Kumail Nanjiani starring together ripping off museums

    • Cassandra Karpinski
      Cassandra Karpinski 2 ай бұрын +6

      Yes. Also shout out to kumail nanjiani. He smashed it. Defs loved the bit where he revealed the empty boxes and was like "yeah they were stolen so we nicked this shit from france instead and dumped it on the floor". And that bit about how long someone has to be dead before parts of their corpse can be put in a museum 😳 well played

    • Moses MM
      Moses MM 2 ай бұрын +5

      It would be even funnier if the country that houses the museum got the next world cup as when you have that, you're essentially untouchable no matter what do did or do. Can you imagine the gloating potential at being able to tell others you stole a bunch of art and other artefacts from the western world, only for in a few years time for people from those counties to show up in mass, pay you tons of money, all to see their team NOT win the world cup.

  • misslieth
    misslieth 3 ай бұрын +92

    AAAAAAND.... You can always opt to have temporary exhibitions, where you can lend items from somewhere else and then RETURN THEM. Besides, if you are genuinely soooooo worried about people caring for their own culture and historical items, you can always donate to their institutions as to help them have the proper resources.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 8 күн бұрын

      @Privacy Lover Another thing to consider in that analogy is that I know that I own my phone, but we may not know who owns these artifacts. Plus, it isn’t like my phone is some sort of antique relic that must be cherished and preserved for the rest of the world to see, since I could just easily get a new one if something goes wrong with my current one. Maybe if a few hundred years pass and my phone is preserved for that long while it goes untouched, then it may be an issue.

    • Privacy Lover
      Privacy Lover 8 күн бұрын

      ​@aycc-nbh72 You aren't dedicated enough to preserving your phone. You've dropped it, you've allowed water to get on it and you've let the battery get below 10%. I'll be taking possession of your phone due to your lack of care for technological devices.
      That's how property ownership works right? If you have an item in your possession you're required to care for it according to other people's wishes and if you don't meet their standards then your property automatically becomes theirs.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 15 күн бұрын

      @None Gone The point is that it’s possible that it exists because it actually has happened and could very well happen again.

    • None Gone
      None Gone 15 күн бұрын +1

      @aycc-nbh72 Possible this phenomenon exists ≠ it actually happening.

  • clever username
    clever username Ай бұрын +38

    Kumail absolutely crushed his bit in this, what a flawless performance 👏

  • Rhov Anion
    Rhov Anion 5 ай бұрын +3359

    I studied Native American Anthropology under a Cherokee professor, and one of the things she was involved with (a side hustle, you could say) was seeking to get stolen Native artifacts out of museum basements and back with the tribes. In one case, the museum was being stubborn that "you can't prove we stole this," so my professor tracked down the granddaughter of the woman who made the item (I think it was a ceremonial bead robe or shawl). This tribal elder explained the little tricks her grandmother used that literally no one could have known, things even the museum didn't notice until they inspected even closer, family trade secrets she still used and had taught to her own grandchildren. She made it more than abundantly clear, this belonged to her family.
    Back in the 1800s, her village was raided and her grandmother gangraped by White men. They ran off with anything they thought looked valuable. This included some of the young girls, livestock, head dresses, furs, and her beadwork outfits. So not only was it stolen, but in a really horrific manner. The museum had bought the majority of their Native American artifacts off a group of rapists.
    That was not the type of publicity they wanted, so they gave it back. This old lady wore her grandmother's robe at the next dance ceremony. All of this was around 20 years ago, so I hope her grandkids still wear that outfit at ceremonies.

    • Masterraccoon
      Masterraccoon 12 күн бұрын

      @Schalla1641 Europeans definitely are…

    • M K
      M K Ай бұрын

      @John Lnot a reason to not return stolen goods

  • Tea&Choc
    Tea&Choc 3 ай бұрын +206

    The problem is the world measures love by who pays the most money, rather than who really cherishes it in a priceless, non-monetized way. Poor people's love isn't able to compete with rich people's greed.

    • Loxley Battle
      Loxley Battle 11 күн бұрын +3

      A free museum in Britain is still only “free” for those who can afford to travel there.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 2 ай бұрын +5

      @Nothing Really Matters that is some contortion. Lying about spending on the NHS is what fascists do.

    • Eve W
      Eve W 3 ай бұрын +14

      @Nothing Really Matters omg its free???? Okay then stealing artifacts is completely fine then! And we all know anyone from a country with a horrible past can never criticise anyone or anything ever, thats just basic logic. Tahnks for your help my friend, the situation in now completely okay! /obviously sarcasm lmao

    • Nothing Really Matters
      Nothing Really Matters 3 ай бұрын +4

      The British Museum is FREE to attend. So 6 million people a year from around the world get to see everything for free. The British taxpayer covers the massive cost of upkeep and protecting these artefacts.
      Most British people would be happy to close the museum and spend the money on the NHS.
      I d think that stolen artefacts should be returned but it is pretty incredible for Americans who stole their entire nation and continue to mass murder for colonialism and to steal wealth to attack a free museum.

  • DrSuperKamiGuru
    DrSuperKamiGuru 3 ай бұрын +105

    So you're saying that if rob a bank, it's fine as long as long as I turn turn my house into a museum and display all the stolen cash? I'm sure I could take better care of a hundred thousand dollars in small bills than the bank ever could.

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын +1

      No, but if you store it in a museum for 200 years, then its reasonable that it is yours.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 2 ай бұрын

      The irony is you are right. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 3 ай бұрын +1

      Nope.English are always exceptions.

    • ethelmini
      ethelmini 3 ай бұрын +1

      Yes that would work. The money has no value that comes from whatever it's exchanged for. No exchange - no value, they could just print some more.

  • Girlgamssilver Scratchin'
    Girlgamssilver Scratchin' 3 ай бұрын +34

    I "love" how they all dance around word "stolen". The look on their faces almost made me cry.

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын

      The Marbles were bought.

    • T Z
      T Z 3 ай бұрын +1

      Technically they weren't stolen. They were robbed. The difference is when something is stolen, you don't know who did it.

    • You Me
      You Me 3 ай бұрын

      À la Museume

  • Andrew D
    Andrew D 3 ай бұрын +482

    I'm not convinced the artefacts are that important for the museums. If they replaced them with replicas I think people would still come, and they would have the same or great impact. After all Dippy is one of the most loved artefacts in a British museum and he's made of plaster, not stone and the Sutton Hoo replica helmet on display at the British Museum always seems to be more popular for people taking photographs than the rusty original on display next to it. Give back Elgin's Marbles and replace them with replicas of the full panels. Would be more impressive and gain some good will from countries we've oppressed. And while we're at it replica of King Tut's sarcophagus too please.

    • Nifralo
      Nifralo 8 күн бұрын

      @Privacy Lover in there home. Why would I pay money to visit Le Louve to look at a copy of the Mona Lisa ?

    • Privacy Lover
      Privacy Lover 8 күн бұрын

      @Nifralo Is the idea of a replica new to you? Hundreds of millions of people proudly display replicas of famous works of art in their homes

    • Jeremy
      Jeremy Ай бұрын

      Why not just give the replicas to the original owners and tell them they are the real ones?

    • ThomasFromTN
      ThomasFromTN 2 ай бұрын +2

      Whether or not the replicas would surpass the originals in quality is utterly irrelevant - and opens the obvious can of worms where the question is begged, "Suppose there are instances when the original is perceived as superior? Should that be the arbitrary litmus test artifact looters apply where determining if returning the original is the proper course of action."
      It's not about whether the replica or the original is the "better" more appealing quality. It's about those who loot artifacts of other cultures SHOULD NEVER BE IN THE POSITION WHERE THAT QUESTION IS THEIRS TO PONDER IN THE FIRST PLACE. Personally - I am gobsmacked and more than a little offended that such a distorted, deflectionary commentary has been introduced into this discussion. I'm trying to be polite...but it was never your fucking artifact to ever leverage that sort of proposition in the first place...what part of "keep your imperialist hands off other people's property" is at all unclear?

  • Aii Eeee
    Aii Eeee 3 ай бұрын +70

    “You can’t judge us in the present based on what we did in the past” ok, but in the present you are openly choosing to keep items you know are stolen, and yes, we can absolutely judge you for that

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын

      No, you cant, because you live on stolen land yourself. If you never owned it, nor your parents or grandparents never owned it, you have no claim to it. This argument of perpetuity is idiotic.

  • Wanax Digammes
    Wanax Digammes 5 ай бұрын +1435

    Fun fact about the Elgin Marbles: After the British Museum refused to return them on the grounds that Greece didn’t have a proper place to display them, they built the state of the art modern Acropolis Museum in Athens for the chief purpose of housing the Elgin Marbles. They still refuse to send them back. Also, when Lord Elgin was transporting the marbles to Britain, the ship they were on sank, and the marbles had to be salvaged from the ocean floor.

    • sicot111
      sicot111 Ай бұрын

      A thief will remain a thief no matter what , these peoples have no conscious

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 2 ай бұрын +1

      @Dankman9 you cannot borrow what is rightfully yours.

  • Adele Irvine
    Adele Irvine 3 ай бұрын +36

    I wrote about the Parthenon marbles while sitting my higher English is school when I was 16 in 2014. Being Scottish and given the political goings on in Scotland that year I called our the hypocrisy of the whole thing by talking about the scottish stone of destiny. A bit of sandstone Scottish kings where crowned for centuries. Pinched by an English King in the late 13th century, was placed at the base of his throne and only officially returned in 1996, 700 years later. Now on display at Edinburgh castle. At least scotland didn't suffer the indignity of it getting referred to as "Edward's Stone."

  • Stef
    Stef 4 ай бұрын +69

    The parody video at the end really puts it into perspective. I believe museums should absolutely display artifacts from around the world-but recreations. Scan or photograph the originals, document materials/ingredients/etc., so it’s preserved. Then, send ALL the originals home. You have a copy & a record, so you’re still in business. Plus, more ppl can see it.

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын

      What's the true home for an artifact which original culture is long gone and has been removed from that location for 200 years? Things change, places change, cultures change, stop this argument of perpetuity because it's not real.

    • WaxonWaxoff
      WaxonWaxoff 4 ай бұрын +6

      The first Egyptian museum, built in Cairo, was actually built by a French man, Auguste Mariette, who was against Napoleon III's attempts to take Egyptian artifacts to France.
      He strongly proposed that all Egyptian artifacts must be protected within Egypt.

  • Alfar 2908 1
    Alfar 2908 1 4 ай бұрын +25

    Man I just started working in a museum and I have to say that a lot of the stuff in this piece is 100% accurate. I’ve seen a lot of museums with a huge section that is just storage for artifacts. that are never shown to like anyone that had been there so long, ware I’ve seen where there’s dust and The sharpie would just say placed in like 90s or 80s something like that and it always annoy the hell out of me because it’s like why no one sees them just give them back.

    • Alfar 2908 1
      Alfar 2908 1 3 ай бұрын +2

      @Kyle Kataryn but overall I here your point

    • Alfar 2908 1
      Alfar 2908 1 3 ай бұрын +2

      @Kyle Kataryn well I think that there local cultures should be allowed to have and maintain there artifacts because if your not going to show them to the public might as well let the culture that made them have them.

    • Kyle Kataryn
      Kyle Kataryn 4 ай бұрын +2

      @Alfar 2908 1 that's actually more typical than not, especially for larger museums.
      Often, larger institutions are assumed to have better ability to preserve donations. preservation can be prohibitively expensive for smaller museums, despite a better ability, and willingness to display such works.
      museum culture frowns upon "deaccessorizing" (reducing) their collections, and may even be banned from accquiring more pieces if they sell part of their collection.
      This is probably a more widespread problem than we realize: some museum collections are so large it takes literal years to properly catalogue their inventory.
      In the case of theft from storage, they may not realize a piece is missing for decades after the fact.
      It raises questions on what is actually the purpose of museums if it isn't to protect a piece for the future, and a significant portion is never displayed to the future, nor studied. .
      In some cases, they simply accept a collection they don't want out of fear of not getting a collection they do want.
      i volunteered in the archives dept of a museum, and they had entire rooms full of photography that nobody had seen for decades, per the assension files.
      some from the 1920s. Perhaps we should revise the culture of selling unviewed collections? i dunno.

    • Alfar 2908 1
      Alfar 2908 1 4 ай бұрын +1

      @Kyle Kataryn I was talking about how meny of the artifacts. (at least at the place I work for) Never moved them from shelves I see rows of stuff that’s never been touched by anyone since they where placed there.

    • Kyle Kataryn
      Kyle Kataryn 4 ай бұрын +1

      part of the museum's job is storage and preservation.
      It's why they rotate out exhibits. Another part is the study, catalogue, and documentation of artifacts.
      what should happen: museums agree to an international lending agreement with explicit acknowledgement of which country owns what. The artifacts will make a tour on a rotating basis, starting and ending in the originating nation.

  • Joel
    Joel 3 ай бұрын +30

    let's not forget Yagans Head, was stored at the British museum. Yes his head, to depict Australian Aboriginal people to the British. He was an cultural elder, warrior.

    • Rachy
      Rachy 2 күн бұрын

      And all the moko mokai from NZ!

  • Gregory Vigneault
    Gregory Vigneault 3 ай бұрын +161

    Those smug asholes arguing that they should "look after" the treasuresxof other cultures, hinting that the fellow humans (who they undeniably see as savages to this day) cannot keep track of their own wondrous creations, are right at the top of the "want most to punch in the face" list.

    • XunQianBaiDu
      XunQianBaiDu 13 күн бұрын

      @RoyB Yes, the Ottomans, just the people I want to support my claims over objects of cultural heritage. Btw, how's the Hagia Sophia?

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын +1

      @Nixeu Harroc The Elgin Marbles were legally bought from the Ottomans, who had ruled over greece for 500 YEARS!!!!!

    • Jordan White
      Jordan White 27 күн бұрын

      Aka they look British.

    • Nifralo
      Nifralo 2 ай бұрын +2

      Like iraq were isis destroyed all its artifacts?

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 2 ай бұрын +3

      I’m your alibi. You were with me.

  • Greg Hodges
    Greg Hodges 5 ай бұрын +2391

    One thing John didn't mention was how much more stolen art is hidden away in private collections. These people often have deeper pockets and less hesitation to acquiring art with a "dubious" ownership history.

    • Clisedia Gonzalez
      Clisedia Gonzalez 4 ай бұрын

      Ownership? The ones that loot and pay? Return to the source the heirs, not the thieves.

    • Lawrence Iverson
      Lawrence Iverson 5 ай бұрын

      @Dr. Zoidberg SO, all private collectors are "weirdos" You kids sure get judgemental sometimes.

    • Bonhommierr
      Bonhommierr 5 ай бұрын

      To all the people commenting on how it's irrelevant to museums : it is. Museums often have sizeable parts of their collections gifted/donated/loaned for exhibitions out of this type of collections. Or they are funded either partially or totally by rich collectors, who sometimes even open up private (but open to the public) museums of their own. It's often a way to feel less guilty, or attract prestige, or acquire an image of a public benefactor, or just sometimes to have the collection acquire more value by being published in catalogues and seen by the public before being sold at auction. In and of itself, it can be an issue but isn't in most cases (where state-funded museums basically are co-opted for private interests it's actually dubious). The true problem is when said art is looted art, as for pretty obvious reasons it acquires more value and collectors become either less willing to part with it, or will hide it, or in, extreme cases, will sell it back for a hefty price to the country of origin. China has this unofficial policy of having billionaires buy looted Chinese artefacts at auction, which might seem cool but actually feeds the market, which then hungers for more, say looted artefacts from the Middle East...

    • EmpyreanLightASMR
      EmpyreanLightASMR 5 ай бұрын

      Makes you wonder what some super rich "good" guys might even own. Like Dwayne Johnson. I have no idea but now I'm curious.

  • cyn_kawaii
    cyn_kawaii 4 ай бұрын +14

    I’m glad you’re talking about this because Peru has always taken great care of what’s in their museums and us Peruvians don’t even get access to see this because the British visa process is extremely hard, assuming you can even afford to fly.
    Artifacts should be back with their countries. As a Peruvian, I would love to see peru receive its artifacts and gold back from these European countries

  • Tree Tzar
    Tree Tzar 3 ай бұрын +37

    Thank you for mentioning bones, and recent bones. Living in Australia the taking of indigenous peoples bones for local and overseas "collections" was by first reaction to your topic. The rest all matters, obviously, but seriously, we took their very bones and some poeple still make arguments against returning them?

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын

      @Skeets McGrew "wtf value does somebody's bones hold for anyone outside of that culture?"
      The same value it does for anyone within that culture.

    • RoyB
      RoyB 16 күн бұрын

      THey're dead. their graves, gone. Why are you so sentimental of bones from hundreds or thousands of years ago. It's dead. the dead dont care.

    • Skeets McGrew
      Skeets McGrew 23 күн бұрын

      That issue specifically makes me think, wtf value does somebody's bones hold for anyone outside of that culture? As if I'm gonna see a skeleton that says 'Elvis Presley' and be like "Yep, that looks like him alrite."

    • Deus Vult
      Deus Vult 2 ай бұрын

      Terra Nullius.

  • fearless kazu
    fearless kazu 3 ай бұрын +46

    I have a book that was written in the 80's about whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned. (The author argued that they should.) So this argument has been going on for a long time. Just from these clips it's obvious that the missing pieces would look a lot more impressive as part of the original piece than as random isolated bits in a glass box.

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 2 ай бұрын +2

      PARTHENON. Stop naming them for the thief!!!!!

    • N Fraser
      N Fraser 2 ай бұрын +3

      Melina Mercouri had dedicated her life to returning all Greek originals.

    • BeadMeCreative
      BeadMeCreative 2 ай бұрын +5

      I think the idea of repatriation is gaining more ground now among the general public, which is what’s more important. Especially since some museums have been repatriating some artefacts in the last 2 years.

  • Nomi Malone
    Nomi Malone 3 ай бұрын +141

    I yearn for a future where amazing artifacts are owned by the cultures who created them, and are loaned and circulated throughout museums around the world at their discretion, rather than storing them away.

    • jacob m
      jacob m 15 күн бұрын

      @RoyB Oh really? Where’d your little idea come from? Any real world experience? Where’s your degree from? Anything at all? Nothing? Just want to look at cool thing?

    • jacob m
      jacob m 15 күн бұрын

      @RoyB Bro who tf are you to say that you have no idea what their connection is to anything. Come back when you have literally any idea what you’re talking about

    • RoyB
      RoyB 15 күн бұрын

      @jacob m Because things change and "Descendant communities" have no more connection to some old shit from thousands of years ago than anyone else.

    • jacob m
      jacob m 15 күн бұрын

      @RoyB Why not?

  • Augustus
    Augustus 3 ай бұрын +77

    I would laugh so much if the payback museum existed for real.🤣

    • Augustus
      Augustus Ай бұрын

      @Jamestown True but a**holes getting their own words/and actions thrown back into their faces is always funny.

    • Kur10usity
      Kur10usity 3 ай бұрын +5

      I feel like crying because it isn't real.

  • CaptMortifyd
    CaptMortifyd 5 ай бұрын +1712

    "The difference between archaeology and looting is 50 years." - one of my anthropology professors explaining the fucked up providence arguments of museums.

    • Dylan Pilcher Universe
      Dylan Pilcher Universe 3 ай бұрын +1

      Amazing that archaeologists wanna call Graham Hancock racist when this is their legacy

    • Hydin
      Hydin 3 ай бұрын

      @Collin McLeanhey hey hey… that is a good use to of money.

    • Collin McLean
      Collin McLean 3 ай бұрын +6

      @hedgehog3180 Oh right I forgot he blew millions of dollars on a Tarbosaurus

  • Archer Scars
    Archer Scars 21 күн бұрын +2

    Shout out to my history teacher for showing the whole class this video! I have never laughed and also been so angry at the same time.

  • Katharine Eavan
    Katharine Eavan 3 ай бұрын +29

    So my hometown's museum has a seat at the same big table as the British Museum and it does have a number of artefacts I'd question the provenance of, but their recent expansion, called the "Museum of Making", is actually another great argument as to why we should give people their shit back and take a better, less classist and racist look at our own.
    When people joke about the British Museum being empty if we gave back all the stolen shit in it, they overlook the fact that the only reason we think this is because we're used to museums being about rich people's stolen collections of "exotic" history instead of our actual history as a people.
    The Derby Museum of Making is housed in one of the first industrial age mills in the world. It holds exibits on the local area, the mill strikes, the symbols, materials, craftmanship and historic significance of Derbyshire's working class people from the industrial age to the present. And it is FULL of artefacts and interesting history. This is a whole freaking museum just about the residents of one English county (mostly one city) in the last couple of hundred years, and it is far from bloody empty!
    If we stop thinking of other cultures' histories and the histories of rich white landowners as the only history worth looking at, then we have a boatload of things to fill our museums with! If we start looking at the history of our working classes, our own craftsmanship and historical narrative that the traditional one loves to gloss over as being unimportant peasant stuff, then we open up so many important topics, artefacts and ideas that we currently ignore.
    EDIT to add: their original campus is still overwhelmingly about local history, and houses the sarcophagus of a British saint found in a local church, a viking longboat excavated here as well, a ton of other viking, roman and bronze age artefacts, and a gallery containing paintings by and of local people (albeit of the rich and white variety). There is, however, a small Egyptology exhibit and an exhibit housing artefacts from countries in Africa that I don't personally know the provenance of.

    • Loxley Battle
      Loxley Battle 11 күн бұрын

      Excellent point

    • CarribeanMonkee
      CarribeanMonkee 3 ай бұрын +2

      Similar to this - the Wigan Life museum has a significant portion dedicated to coal, because amidst the industrial revolution there were literall over a thousand coal pits in a 5 mile redius of the town center. Wigans coal powered the industrial revolution of North England, and the industrial revolution started in North England. It's so easy to delve into a regions specific history that the wider history of far off places really isn't necessary. Wigans museum isn't particularly grand or popular, but the Jorvik center in York, ostensibly a viking museum, is entirely based on the lives of viking people that settled British shores, and so serves as an even greater example.

  • Sushant Manandhar
    Sushant Manandhar 4 ай бұрын +12

    I knew someone who used to work in the British Museum and let me tell you, what they hide in their vaults are much more valuable than what they show off

  • Bimmy
    Bimmy 9 күн бұрын +3

    I love anthropology and learning about other cultures from museums, and I never really gave much thought to how fucked up the path those objects took to get there. Unbelievable proud as a half Scottish person that Aberdeen took steps to right their wrongs. Hopefully enough outrage can push other museums into the same position, sad as it is it has to come to that.
    Western colonizing and literal theft of artifacts is so wildly horrendous and makes me sick. I’m gonna start looking into stories of countries getting their art and history returned. 🙏❤️

  • dmisso42
    dmisso42 3 ай бұрын +23

    John has one essential takeaway here.
    If the answer to a direct question is NOT "No" , it is instantly suspicious.
    Politicians take note!

    • Above Average Azzuen
      Above Average Azzuen 3 ай бұрын

      Maybe also DON'T have the guy who looks like Shaggy's necrophile cousin with his deer in the headlights look be the guy you put on camera.... JUST SAYIN maybe there's a reason why they keep him in the back away from people

  • Background Ambience
    Background Ambience 5 ай бұрын +2414

    This reminds me a lot of the Irish Giant Charles Byrne. He was 7' 7'' and he was so afraid of a collector or museum displaying his body when he died that he had his friends bury him at sea. Unfortunately, before his friends could follow through with their promise his corpse was stolen by a 'collector' and was eventually sold to the Royal College of Surgeons in London. It is still on display there over 200 years later despite efforts by activists for him to be buried. People with the same genetic condition as Byrne, who are from the same part of the country as him and probably share DNA have offered to donate their skeletons when they die so that Byrne can be released, but the museum has always refused.

    • Nifralo
      Nifralo 2 ай бұрын +1

      How's that different from putting Egyptian mummies in museums?

    • Robin Bernardinis
      Robin Bernardinis 2 ай бұрын

      @LizzieB Kennedy I admit that the Human Rights Charter is not my area of expertise, but I was under the assumption that it applied to living humans. Look, I'm not even saying that we should not care about people's dying wishes when it comes to their remains, though I find the concept of caring about what happens to one's body after death irrational. I'm just saying that the mistake that was made all those years ago is impossible to make amends for, so we should get our worth and not let that mistake go to waste.

  • Timothy Libeer
    Timothy Libeer 4 ай бұрын +9

    Love you John! Everyone at LWT needs a raise. Please keep it coming.

  • Luiz Lopes
    Luiz Lopes 3 ай бұрын +39

    As a Brazilian, I’d be ok with you keeping the artefacts if the Portuguese people would return our gold

    • Pablo Ruiz
      Pablo Ruiz 23 күн бұрын

      Oh, that gold was spent centuries ago. It's no longer around--just look at how poor Portugal is now. As for the artifacts, they belong to the natives of Brazil, not to you. So Portugal should return them to the natives. Though that giant museum of Brazilian antiquities did burn down in Rio a few years ago because your politicians were too cheap to install a simple fire sprinkler system. Priceless artifacts all burned up. So I have my grave doubts whether any of that stuff should return to you guys...

    • Jamestown
      Jamestown Ай бұрын +1

      I'm pretty sure Portugal blew it all on tea and spices.

    • Marco1
      Marco1 2 ай бұрын +2

      @iñigo montoya Big brain move. You don't have to return what you stole if you kill the owners of the stuff.

    • Izabela Bąk
      Izabela Bąk 2 ай бұрын


  • Human Earthling
    Human Earthling 3 ай бұрын +4

    Great episode! I often wondered about the ownership of cultural art pieces in museums and was really happy to find this topic discussed here. I love this show so much! You are the best!

  • WaywardJellyfish
    WaywardJellyfish Ай бұрын +3

    I honestly feel like at this point, we can really just create replicas to display and send back the originals if we really want to display stuff.

  • XSwisSmYcHEeseX
    XSwisSmYcHEeseX 3 ай бұрын +46

    Kumail Nanjiani is such an underrated treasure

  • Adultish Gambino
    Adultish Gambino 5 ай бұрын +1293

    “We can’t return your art and culture because otherwise we wouldn’t have our own” is the most depressingly hilarious line I’ve ever heard.

    • Vic Someone 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
      Vic Someone 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 3 ай бұрын

      @Oliver Fulayter Best post on here, thank you.

    • hedgehog3180
      hedgehog3180 3 ай бұрын

      @baka1949 This has to be funniest way to admit that you just didn't watch the video.

    • j k
      j k 5 ай бұрын +3

      I mean thees people don't even have their own cuisine. Are we surprised that they are throwing temper tantrums with these stolen antiquities?

    • Tepid Ceranda
      Tepid Ceranda 5 ай бұрын +5

      @Oliver Fulayter The entire point is that ancient Egypt =/= modern Egypt. Suggesting they're "owed" those artifacts because they came from their country thousands of years ago is utter nonsense. It's only being brought up now because anti-anglo rhetoric is at an all-time high.
      There are plenty of articles covering the mishandling of artifacts in Egypt if you took one second to google it but you wont and you're set on a single mindset.

  • Ayush Paudel
    Ayush Paudel 4 ай бұрын +18

    I was seriously shocked by looking at Chicago Institute of Art's Nepalese collection.
    Thank you for bringing attention to this.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 3 ай бұрын +1

      Who’s saying they stole anything, though? Who’s saying they didn’t pay for what they have nor follow the proper UN-sanctioned procedures?

  • Cristina Kolozsváry-Kiss
    Cristina Kolozsváry-Kiss 3 ай бұрын +4

    Former archivist (turning farmer) here. Thank you for bringing all of this up, it's essential. Could you maybe do a kind of part 2 about the environmental impact of archiving and museums? We are preserving ourselves to death.

  • Michele
    Michele 3 ай бұрын +22

    I love you John Oliver for all this information

  • GiveMeMusicOrGiveMeDeath
    GiveMeMusicOrGiveMeDeath 12 күн бұрын

    As a college student studying library sciences (for rare books) and museum studies… this video made me cry.

  • Stephen Doherty
    Stephen Doherty 3 ай бұрын +12

    Lets not even consider the vast private collector and the art thieves (with some semi legit middleman in between) where the art is never seen in public, never shown to anyone but close friends (maybe not even then) and where the collector knows its stolen, wants to show it to others but can't ever. The same art is then gifted to the next family (but never itemised by anyone - just "family home assets".

    • Skeets McGrew
      Skeets McGrew 23 күн бұрын

      Ok but at least then it's openly just loot. Museums hold them under the pretense that they are doing the world a favor by holding onto them. I have much more respect for a thief who calls themselves what they are

    SATISH PRADHAN 5 ай бұрын +1953

    Fun fact the word loot is a Hindi / Sanskrit (Indian language) word. So the British looted so much that they even took the word loot which the people cried when they were looting.

    • Arati Prasad
      Arati Prasad 5 ай бұрын

      @docvideo93 Yes it does have the same meaning.

    • canvaspants
      canvaspants 5 ай бұрын +1

      Sadly there is a Korean word for golden treasure, nodaji, which originally came from English “no touch” yelled at those pesky locals getting in the way of that loot

    • js2010ish
      js2010ish 5 ай бұрын


    • DogsRNice
      DogsRNice 5 ай бұрын +1

      @Organic Farm they all originate from proto indo-european which is what nearly every language with a few exceptions from Europe to India come from
      Also lone words are interesting, for example "anime" (meaning Japanese animation) is a lone word from Japanese (which means just any animation), except it's also a lone word from the English word... animation, just without the "tion"
      So it's a lone word of a lone word, which was originally basically itself
      Also one may think that the word emoji has a similar origin but it's actually just a coincidence that it kinda sounds like it partly came from "emotion"
      From Wikipedia, "Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, 'picture') + moji (文字, 'character'); the resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental."

  • inviver07
    inviver07 2 ай бұрын +3

    Please please do not stop making such true and valuable videos! The last bit - mmmmaaaasterpiece! As for someone coming from a colonialized country, this felt like 10 thousand fluffiest puppies climbing all over you!

  • AlyPiAlpha
    AlyPiAlpha 2 ай бұрын +4

    The line “if you say yes to [giving back one artifact] you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty” is shockingly similar to what the evil mercenary guy said in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire before he tried to steal the city’s power source for a museum…

  • xredstar303x
    xredstar303x 3 ай бұрын +9

    I was able to view some of the storage rooms in the field museum as a field trip (mostly just dinosaur bones) but I never thought they’d be storing artifacts like that. As a local, I’m disgusted with the field museum now.

  • Michael McDaniel
    Michael McDaniel 3 ай бұрын +13

    This subject is a good one to illustrate the fickleness of change in our public mores. We are caught in our conflict between what we used to "know" and what we now know. Change is hard!

    • LizzieB Kennedy
      LizzieB Kennedy 2 ай бұрын

      I thought the English liked the Ten Commandments.

    • P Garcia
      P Garcia 3 ай бұрын +1

      “Thou shall not steal “ has been around for a while now.

  • MossyMozart
    MossyMozart 2 ай бұрын +2

    I very much appreciate this episode. And thank you for the tour of the Payback Museum. I probably will never get there on my own.

  • rishabh anand
    rishabh anand 5 ай бұрын +544

    From the british perspective, and those of other countries with stolen artifacts, the way forward ought to be fairly simple. Create replicas of each artifact to keep in your own museum, and return the originals to the countries they were stolen from.

    • CorporateG0th
      CorporateG0th 3 ай бұрын

      @hedgehog3180 well why didn't you say we could shake our fist at the US while we're wiping out Mesopotamian culture? That's absolutely worth it.

    • hedgehog3180
      hedgehog3180 3 ай бұрын +1

      @CorporateG0th Most Iraqi artifacts were actually lost during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, when the Iraqi national museum was looted, they have a list of 70k artifacts they're still missing from the invasion. A lot of those were looted by American soldiers. And oh yeah ISIS literally only exists because of the US, it was only able to form because the US left Iraq destroyed after the war and then stole all of the oil so there was no viable way to rebuild the country and it was initially formed as an offshoot of Al-Queda, the group that only exists because the CIA literally funded them. You can say that the US invasion was justified to remove a dictator, but that just begs the question of why didn't the US do anything to assist the large scale democratic revolts that sprung up during operation Desert Storm and only decided to depose Sadam after those groups had been crushed. And why the US supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war.
      Man it's really quite convenient how we can't return artifacts to their rightful owners because we keep invading them and destroying their country.

    • Lyusyena Kirakosyan
      Lyusyena Kirakosyan 4 ай бұрын

      Realistically, this is not going to happen. Much of the tourism appeal in Europe is built around visiting these museums and their displayed collections...But yes, making replicas and returning the originals to where they belong is a moral thing to do.

    • Chobble Gobbler
      Chobble Gobbler 4 ай бұрын

      There is no case by case. Demeaning these, “objects” by calling them artifacts is extremely white of us. These objects are not ours to name, take, or define.

    • Bryan Wallace
      Bryan Wallace 4 ай бұрын +1

      Absolutely! Great idea. One caveat: the country that exists today in the location where the artifacts were found should be stable, ethical, and capable of protecting and displaying the artifacts.
      Might I suggest that the British Museum, at its own expense, build, staff, and finance annexes in the relevant countries. It’s the least they can do.

  • Jeff Halstead
    Jeff Halstead 3 ай бұрын +14

    Imagine you go to see the actual stone henge and realize they actually took one 😂

  • Robert DeMitro
    Robert DeMitro 4 ай бұрын +6

    I love the " Pay Back Museum " so true to everything John Oliver was saying . The skit just solidifies everything being said !

  • Sad_Bean
    Sad_Bean 3 ай бұрын +8

    Laws are there to be changed and let's be honest, moving artifacts are pretty easy to do. John proved that when he went on tour with his fabulous rat erotica.

  • Kevin Lee
    Kevin Lee 3 ай бұрын +8

    I watch a lifetime of collecting go in the dumpster after my neighbor passed away. These items must be returned and must be protected.

  • wpkhoman
    wpkhoman 4 ай бұрын +14

    I know the guy who stole the Cambodian sculpture. His name is Latchford and he’s hiding out in Thailand. He was my upstairs neighbor and he always used to leave Sotheby’s catalogues in our lobby. He was exactly what you might expect an English looter to be like.

    • K M
      K M 2 ай бұрын

      Thanks for the name. I’m reading about the Denver Art Museum now. To be around someone so lacking scruples must have been chilling. I lived in Asia for years and met some shocking expatriates.

  • Kedo
    Kedo 5 ай бұрын +1357

    Greek person here: our conservation methods are actually very advanced. I attended a seminar a few years ago where a specialist actually went into detail about the methods they use to conserve and preserve the marbles. A lot of time and effort is put into researching the best ways to care for our artefacts, something that can’t be said for the British museum.

    • Thane's Games
      Thane's Games 3 ай бұрын

      @Drew Gehringer Clumsiest constructed strawman ever.

    • Drew Gehringer
      Drew Gehringer 3 ай бұрын

      @Thane's Games Ah yes, only Greece digs up and illegally sells antiquities, it NEVER, EVER occurs in the U.K.; they're Good Civilized People Who Never Do Anything Wrong.

    • Spaghetty
      Spaghetty 3 ай бұрын

      @Danny Danhammer Your analogy was incoherent. I understand what point you were trying to get across, but you've given me nothing to contextualize how a nation can be "homeless" or "in jail" _even metaphorically._ You're trying to ascribe negative qualities, yes, well done clever boy, but you *didn't say what those qualities are supposed to be.* I happen to think your position is wrong, but now I'm just irritated that you think your bumbling failure at conveying meaning is somehow my fault.
      You gave me half a connect-the-dots puzzle and blamed me for not seeing the drawing. See? Analogies are actually quite easy if you bother to, I dunno, _try_

    • Danny Danhammer
      Danny Danhammer 3 ай бұрын

      @Spaghetty analogies are hard, huh.....

    • Spaghetty
      Spaghetty 3 ай бұрын

      @Danny Danhammer Wtf are you talking about? How is Greece "homeless"? When did it go to jail?
      Also, and this may come as a shock, artifacts aren't children. The two situations aren't remotely comparable. We are talking about _stolen property_ . Stolen property _should be returned_ , no matter what ludicrous imaginary catastrophes you fantasize you're saving it from.

  • Michael Curcio
    Michael Curcio 4 ай бұрын +3

    Oliver is a world treasure...let's keep him.

  • erinmsullivan
    erinmsullivan 2 ай бұрын +3

    It’s like if when adults play the “I got your nose!” game with kids, instead of graciously giving it back after the kid starts to cry, they simply told the child that actually there’s no record of stealing in my acquisition of your nose and also until we can trust you to properly maintain your own nose, I will be the responsible custodian of it from now on :) 🤦🏻‍♀️

  • Marcie St Clair
    Marcie St Clair 2 ай бұрын +2

    I worked at the British museum for 6 months and I have a lot of stories to tell.. lots of very creepy weird stories

  • annabelle ツ
    annabelle ツ 3 ай бұрын +1

    wow, this is such a good video. genuinely want to learn so much more about art history now

  • Star
    Star 3 күн бұрын

    The clip at the end is so good. It really reminds me of the weird, surreal opening to those old DW documentaries. Unlike any museum I've ever been to, yet somehow, 100% Museum.

  • spornge
    spornge 5 ай бұрын +10816

    My grandmother found out her grand parents had managed to obtain an Eaglehead dress when she was going through our family storage, she contacted a bunch of people about where it should be probably donated, the museums wanted to not only claim it and planned to put in storage , but were going to fine her for owning it. Keep in mind she was not trying to sell just send it where it should be, thankfully a native American Heritage association got ahold of her and had the legal power to defend their claim on it so it did not end up in a box in a bottom of a basement. It was really gorgoues. I wish I knew where it ended up only that it ended up with a heritage organizaiton.

    • Crystal Carter
      Crystal Carter Ай бұрын

      I 100% would have responded to that threat with “fuck you” blocked all further communication.

    • Kasey C
      Kasey C 2 ай бұрын

      @리주민 oh and if the person bought a car they know was stolen, they will be criminally charged with receiving stolen property and the original owner gets their car back. Anyway you put it, the item goes back to the original owner...as it should in these cases.

    • Kasey C
      Kasey C 2 ай бұрын

      @리주민 oh I can answer this question. If someone buys a stolen car not knowing it was stolen, the original owner will get their car back and the person who bought the stolen car is now the victim of theft by deception. They certainly don't get to keep the stolen car...at least not in the States. Dunno bout other countries.
      The items should be returned.

    • Kasey C
      Kasey C 2 ай бұрын

      @Mihovil BeckV Understand the importance of cultural preservation? It's not your culture though. By refusing to return the items, you're effectively damaging the very culture you're supposedly trying to preserve. If it doesn't belong to you and the country of origin wants their historical artifact back, it should be given. I don't even understand why this is a debate.
      Oh wait, yes I do...money, superiority complexes and entitlement...

    • Drew Gehringer
      Drew Gehringer 3 ай бұрын

      @Mihovil BeckV Museums can always make replicas to use in their little clinical aseptic flavorless displays and leave the originals with the people they were stolen from: why should the victims of theft be the ones forced to get by with replicas?

  • Soaring Kite
    Soaring Kite 2 ай бұрын +1

    Bravo, John, for shedding light on this issue! I’ve been to people’s homes who had priceless Egyptian, Hindu, Khmer, and Mayan masterpieces hanging prominently in private rooms. 😢

  • Splinelink
    Splinelink 4 ай бұрын +39

    Ty.Oliver again delivers!
    Imagine a Nigerian field trip that included the Benin bronzes. Imagine the pride of culture.
    As a child I didn't need to hear about how the Met acquired its art bc I assumed the early antiquities stolen. All cultures need to have them returned asap.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 45 минут бұрын

      @Wongel Gebru That isn’t necessarily true. What if the accused admitted to the act under duress and was threatened if he didn’t?

    • Wongel Gebru
      Wongel Gebru 6 сағат бұрын

      @aycc-nbh72 Sure, but many cases have been proven and when the thief admits they stole what the have then I would say that is enough proof

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 6 сағат бұрын

      @Wongel Gebru The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It’s up to the accuser to prove his claim has merit, no? Otherwise, people could claim theft of anything and take anything because they don’t like people and the accusation without evidence would need a great deal of work defending.

    • Wongel Gebru
      Wongel Gebru 8 сағат бұрын

      @aycc-nbh72 forbidden? i don’t think seeing anything would be forbidden, if you’re referring to brits, they can use the internet.

    • Wongel Gebru
      Wongel Gebru 8 сағат бұрын

      @aycc-nbh72 yes but many museums admit that a lot of their artifacts were looted so it’s not like the accusations are being made out of no where

  • Dylan Dreisbach
    Dylan Dreisbach 3 ай бұрын +25

    We got 3d printers and color printers now. Display the history and a replication of the art if you truly love the story of the art. What a better way to preserve art then to make an exact replication? If anything happens to the original we can make another.

    • Nixeu Harroc
      Nixeu Harroc 3 ай бұрын +1

      ​@Dylan Dreisbach I think it is, in a lot of cases. If only so that information can be properly preserved and shared. There are some things you can only do with the original, admittedly, particularly trace chemical analysis. But that's just a reason why you make copies, so that you can save handling the fragile original for when it counts.

    • Dylan Dreisbach
      Dylan Dreisbach 3 ай бұрын +4

      @Nixeu Harroc Yes exactly. Send the original pieces to the country of origin, and keep copies for historical preservation. We don’t need to worry about preserving books anymore because we can easily digitize their contents. The same should be done with important artifacts.

    • Nixeu Harroc
      Nixeu Harroc 3 ай бұрын +3

      There's a difference between art and artifacts that I think needs to be drawn. Art and replicas that are made to be sold? Fine, go nuts. Artifacts? Send them back to their context, because they're meaningless without it. Hell, not knowing their context makes studying them harder. That's why modern archeologists are aggressive about documentation.

  • JB Bell
    JB Bell 4 ай бұрын +1

    Excellent reporting and absolutely brilliant satire to tie it up with a bow.

  • harvestcanada
    harvestcanada 3 ай бұрын +4

    I went to Sutton Hoo, and the British Museum do not seem to have a problem properly curating thier own artifacts. Between Sutton Hoo and the British Museum there are combinations of real artifacts and exact copies of original artifacts with the right atmosphere and historical context, can be just as informative as traditional museums.
    I went to Kenwood House and there is an exact specially taken photograph of the portrait of Dido and her cousin painted in the 18th century. And at first glance it does not look like photo. The real painting is held in Scotland.

  • Ine Louw
    Ine Louw 5 ай бұрын +1416

    One of the most fun museums I've ever visited was filled with REPLICAS of famous sculptures, and the fact that they weren't originals truly didn't lessen the impact of the craftsmanship and artistic vision of the artist. I don't know why we can't do that with all the objects we've stolen from other countries. I'm sure that most people wouldn't be able to spot the difference even if they knew.

    • Grischa
      Grischa 3 ай бұрын

      @hedgehog3180 true. But I guess that depends on replica and the material in use. I was thinking along the lines of something like a bronze statue. If you have the negative you can allways make a new one pretty quick and even reuse the material of the old one. So it would not matter if it gets rubbed of from people touching it.

    • hedgehog3180
      hedgehog3180 3 ай бұрын

      @Grischa Replicas are still generally too valuable to touch, the original artifact was usually a luxury item itself so replicating it requires a skilled craftsman or advanced science, but they can be displayed in much more forgiving conditions that lets you get much closer to them.
      Though also sometimes replicas can be more than just museum exhibits, in Denmark there's a jewelry store that's entirely based on making faithful replicas of originals found in excavations. It's really cool and I have a bunch of jewelry from them because I love the idea of having something historical like that, especially since you can have it made in the original material as well.

    • WaxonWaxoff
      WaxonWaxoff 4 ай бұрын +1

      Holy crap, we can even have an entire industry around craftsmen trying to recreate artifacts from around the world using various skills and techniques, and even give them personal fame for doing so, without stealing these artifacts.

    • Christian Helpap
      Christian Helpap 5 ай бұрын

      It has to be an nft, else it isn't worth so much to the ultra rich. Digital nft demonstrates this

  • Rhizophagous Ramblings with R.P. Humunculi

    Mr. Oliver, I hope you look at tribal recognition in California with relation to how muddled Mission systems made things. some groups were given a green light vs others who were harried. A good talk illuminating colonial history in a highly visible realm.

    • hryjel
      hryjel 8 күн бұрын

      i would like this as a white dude living in california living on a damn road named after a ohlone group. it feels so damn disrespectful to live somewhere literally named after em and have no idea about their culture or anything even if i had zero hand in my birth in this particular location. much less the way that i was taught about the missions in school in the 21st century.

    • RemovePutin
      RemovePutin 3 ай бұрын +1

      Good idea. I'd send John a letter. His staff actually look at those, but I doubt they look at youtube comments.

  • Alan J Buddendeck
    Alan J Buddendeck 3 ай бұрын +2

    Right on the mark, Mr. Oliver. Thank you for speaking uncomfortable truths.

  • General Steam
    General Steam 3 ай бұрын +19

    Best part about the end joke. The Monna Lisa was in the French collection. you could argue, it should be in Italy since it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. who is Italian.

    • Pablo Ruiz
      Pablo Ruiz 23 күн бұрын

      @General Steam But the French, during Napoleon's conquests, did steal a lot of crap from Italy, and Spain and Germany and Austria and Russia and Poland and Egypt and Belgium and Portugal and the Netherlands. A good chunk was returned after Napoleon was defeated in 1815. But not all. You get to see these treasures now mostly in the Louvre in Paris.

    • Pablo Ruiz
      Pablo Ruiz 23 күн бұрын

      Leonardo Da Vinci himself took the Mona Lisa with him and sold it to the French king while Da Vinci was residing in France. It doesn't belong to Italy because, well, the very artist sold it away.

    • Vitrunis
      Vitrunis 24 күн бұрын

      Leonardo spent time and worked in France, at service of the French kings, Louis the Twelfth and then François the First. Leonardo died at the Clos Lucé, a manor made at his disposal by François on the Loire (near which Leonardo has been buried, at the castle of Amboise) - some time before his death, François acquired the Joconde.
      Also, at the times some part of modern Italy (Milano) has been under the control of the French king for some time, so it was in a way part of the kingdom of France - though, it was very conflictual and that changed very often.

    • General Steam
      General Steam 3 ай бұрын

      @S R ok, thanks. I'm glad it wasn't stolen by the French.

    • S R
      S R 3 ай бұрын +5

      Leonardo himself brought it to France and sold it to the French, so in that case it's different. Not a looted object. Still, one of the Italians' favorite jokes against the French, especially during football matches, is "ridateci la Gioconda", "give us back the Mona Lisa" :D

  • NochSoEinKaddiFan
    NochSoEinKaddiFan 3 ай бұрын +2

    While you have it, make copies of it. Transfer the ownership to the rightful owners and then ask them, if they want the thing back. If yes, you have the copy, if not, you give the copy to them so they can build their own musem and once it is somewhat safe and stable, there is still the option to swap the things so the owner gets the real thing and you as a museum are still a place for education using all the copies you have created

  • Robotic Zamat
    Robotic Zamat 3 ай бұрын +11

    They don't want to give them back because they wouldn't have a job. They have spent so much time hyper focused on the one stolen item in their academic career, that they can't bear to let go of it, even thought it's not bloody theirs.
    They all talk like abusive partners/parents.

    • Pablo Ruiz
      Pablo Ruiz 23 күн бұрын

      Actually it's more basic than that. This stuff is worth billions of dollars or euros in value out in the open art markets. And no institution that I know of is willing to give away its most valuable monetary assets without getting moolah in return.

  • qwertyuiopzxcfgh
    qwertyuiopzxcfgh 5 ай бұрын +1635

    "We can't do the right thing now, or else we'd have to do the right thing again in the future" - the British Museum.

  • Don K. Johnson
    Don K. Johnson 11 күн бұрын +1

    Yep, everything is in that place. Crystals skulls from Mexico, and all the BEST stuff from Egypt. The best stone heads, mummies and sarcophaguses. So many things from all over the world. They even have the Rosetta Stone and the Sphinx at the Gates of Babylon.

  • Elpee
    Elpee 4 ай бұрын +6

    Excellent, provocative episode. Loved the Kumail Nanjiani bit, and how good is the turtleneck and blazer combination? So stylish!

  • Rj Nation
    Rj Nation 3 ай бұрын +8

    Nobody does it better than an English man who knows what satire is, thanks for that, Rj in Oz

  • Reaper King
    Reaper King 3 ай бұрын +6

    I think the best solution is to start licensing expert made copies of the famous art works. That solves all the problems. It allows for example the British Musuem to proudly display Benin Bronzes and thus educate any and all who visit it about them and at the same time Nigeria gets their rightful goods back. No one would know the difference and many museums do this as is already in order to protect the orignals. All problems solved, win win.

    • Benzaiten
      Benzaiten Ай бұрын

      or even better; let artists and experts from the countries they come from to the replicating. this'd also give money to the communities who suffered this theft.

  • Greg Brogan
    Greg Brogan 2 ай бұрын

    I was visiting antique shops in India... Looking at some very old stone carvings. The dealer told me they can export them (illegally) and typically paint them in bright colours that make them look new. But the paint can be washed off easily with water. I really wondered if the items were real or fake...

  • burlingk
    burlingk 5 ай бұрын +1951

    "If you say yes to one, you would suddenly find the British Museum is empty."
    That's kinda the point.

    • Bolt
      Bolt 2 ай бұрын

      nothing is 'british' in the british museum.. They should rename it

    • Emporio Alniño
      Emporio Alniño 2 ай бұрын

      Oh come on, we don't want the museum to be empty. I'm all for giving back stolen artefacts but we should have identical replicas in museums around the world so anyone can visit and enjoy the object in person. It would suck if a bunch of museum objects got sent back to Africa and now we can't see them anymore

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 2 ай бұрын

      @Charles Bosse But the problem is that not everyone thinks like that and it’s possible that at least one group could demand these artifacts back by any means necessary, even if it means going to war.

    • Charles Bosse
      Charles Bosse 2 ай бұрын

      @aycc-nbh72 "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". We should right our wrongs, not compound them.

    • aycc-nbh72
      aycc-nbh72 3 ай бұрын

      @Charles Bosse I’m pretty sure that no nation is innocent in regards to stealing things, though.

  • patricia
    patricia 4 ай бұрын +2

    Maybe not 100% on topic but I was also hoping to see maybe something on the Philadelphia museum of art union negotiations, maybe better suited for a union episode but their struggles have aligned with the burst of unions in this country and the seedy underbelly of fine art and museums

  • Antony Oscar
    Antony Oscar 4 ай бұрын

    Stuff like this is one reason I never got more into archeology and history even though I was interested in it as a possible job field.

  • Wayuls
    Wayuls 2 ай бұрын +2

    "If you remove a peoples past, input a present, then *you* will control their future" - George Orwell

  • Karl Naidoo
    Karl Naidoo 4 ай бұрын +1

    this was a fantastic episode😭 The way he and the writers of the show phased their discussion on why this is such an important step to decolonization was reasoned out so amazingly clearly and ethically and wow mahn just hits me in the feels

  • Da Vinci Cosmetics
    Da Vinci Cosmetics 3 ай бұрын +3

    Amazing video about the world's most prestigious museums, I love Salvador Di Ávila art work btw.

    THOMAS PAPADOGIAS 5 ай бұрын +460

    As a Greek person I am glad someone with a large audience like John Oliver is taking about this

    • Jordi Nagel
      Jordi Nagel 4 ай бұрын +1

      @Marc Whinery of course, after all, who doesn’t remember the crucial “You were negligent to let me steal your stuff, so it’s rightfully mine now” law?

    • Marc Whinery
      Marc Whinery 5 ай бұрын

      @Jordi Nagel You obviously can't care for your artefacts, you let the British steal them in the first place.

    • Edriss Scofield
      Edriss Scofield 5 ай бұрын

      Lmao you egghead I knew someone would reply to him seriously. It's not trolling either

    • Cole McMullin
      Cole McMullin 5 ай бұрын +1

      I remember as a kid being really confused as to whhy a bunch of peices of the statues in the parthenon museum in athens were a different colour. when i asked the guide and learned that the peices were in other museums i felt really empty because i had come to the museum hoping to connect to the past and now i have to make a plan for after i graduate to go to see the other peices to make that visit feel complete. I guess that is just another reason to give back looted artifacts, it means i can go to one place to learn about the past and culture of the people who live(d) there instead of having to treck halfway around the world to get a complete picture.

    • Zwenk Wiel
      Zwenk Wiel 5 ай бұрын +2

      @Jordi Nagel lol yeah, really only have yourself to blame here XD

  • Rilian Kenneth Saunders
    Rilian Kenneth Saunders 3 ай бұрын

    i went to a museum in arkansas that also keeps most of their stuff in giant cabinets. it's like they're the brains from futurama that just want to collect all information, not to do anything with it, just to have it all.

  • Moshpiler K
    Moshpiler K 3 ай бұрын +6

    I'm sure museums could gradually replace their collections with replicas of returned items

    • Benzaiten
      Benzaiten Ай бұрын

      of course they could, there are many cases where fakes were on display because they weren't found out. so if good fakes can even fool the experts then naturally the normal public would have no clue. and even if you simply tell the visitors those are replicas and the originals are returned to where they belong, I doubt many would have a problem.

  • James Robert
    James Robert 3 ай бұрын

    So as someone who has been to the British Museum I commend John for showing the horrors countries faced when the artefacts were looted, I’m sure people will agree on this video