Analysis Of The International Slavery Museum

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The International Slavery Museum, located in the same ports that saw slavery ships depart for the African continent and the New World some two hundred years before, is an exhibition at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. The museum has exhibits and displays dedicated to celebrating the culture of the Africans who were enslaved and brought to work in the New World, commemorating the experiences of those who were enslaved and informing visitors on how the slave trade operated. In this essay, I will discuss how the museum presented the African population and their culture, how the transatlantic slave trade was presented and finally compare how the museum presented these topics to how historians have presented them.

The native African population who
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Phillips paints a picture that the African culture and population was backward at the time of European contact with the African continent and suggests that their life was "savage". He even goes on to question whether contact with the Europeans was a blessing or a curse. These views are reiterated by other historians, Stanley Elkins ' book describes African culture as "primitive" and questions whether African culture was culture. He says that the distance between African settlements in Africa meant that "hopeless diversity" prevented the African population from resisting. Resistance to European masters is scarcely mentioned in the book. It is therefore obvious that the views presented in the museum do not reflect older views of the African…show more content…
The museum focused more on the experience of the African slaves in the Americas than anything else, but there was some key information on how they travelled to the New World and the conditions they faced. The use of videos and displays was much more prevalent in this area. This is likely due to the fact that this was the main area of the museum. The museum used videos (see Figure 2) to inspire emotive feelings amongst visitors – one video was of a woman describing the punishment and attempted escape of a friend, whilst the other was a detailed, wordless video of slaves being transported aboard a slave ship to the Americas. The second video was on two curved screens spanning three hundred and sixty degrees and with surround sound, fully engaging the visitor in the experience. This was a clever use of video and sound in order to arouse a moving response from the visitor as they began to feel the reality of a slave’s journey to the Americas. The museum also used comprehensive models of plantations (see Figure 3) and slave ships (Figure 4) to allow the visitor to interact with the slave’s experience travelling to and working in the Americas. Interactive displays were again used in exhibitions discussing where the African slaves come from and were taken to work in and what colonies European states held in Africa (see Figure

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