The British Museum Thinks Too Many “Asian Names” on Labels is Confusing

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The British Museum caused an uproar on social media when it tweeted out that Asian names on labels can be confusing to teenagers. The statement was made as a response during a Q&A session done by the museum over Twitter.

The question, which was asked by the Museum of Applied Arts and Science in Sydney, Australia, asked about the accessibility of the labels and how the British Museum ensured a wider range of people understood the labels. They responded by saying:

Later, the British Museum claimed that what they had meant to say was that, between Asian cultures, there is a wide range of names and labels that can’t fit onto a label.

People were still unsatisfied with that response, claiming that the variety was part of the necessary information that was left off the label.

And, some pointed out that this trend is part of a larger problem:

The obfuscation of differences between Asian cultures is, in larger part, an issue with many museums and how they choose to portray “Asia” categorically (or, sometimes, combine South Asia with the Middle East – *cough, cough*). Categorizing this way can lead to an elimination of distinction, as was made clear by this whole label fiasco. Clearly, it seems easier to filter out the differences between Asian cultures and languages than get longer labels.

Some, however, claimed that the British Museum was making the right call:

The British Museum came out with its own apology as well, claiming that they had not meant to be insulting but that the purpose of the labels is to be clear.

And then once more:

The British Museum clearly thinks differences between cultures from one continent are confusing. Perhaps the British could have learned a thing or two while they were colonizing most of the world.

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