Heritage of the Powerhouse Museum:

What’s at stake in the move to Parramatta

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If we trash the museum, we trash our reputation.

A stereotype of the typical Australian sometimes portrays this person as uncouth, uncultured, unsophisticated. But the facts contradict: early in our history we established museums and universities; individual Australians have led the world in all fields of the arts and sciences, and in areas as diverse as archaeology and cosmology we are typically performing well ‘above our league’. Our orchestras, opera, ballet and dance groups are of world class.

But what would happen if we ‘relocate’ this museum?

Jennifer Sanders, former deputy director of the Powerhouse Museum, recently surveyed world museums to try to find a similar process, but basically this is the only such example. Read her research on www.lockoweb.com/phm/bulletins/may32.pdf. This will do irreparable harm to our image as an advanced society. Our image will in no way be redeemed by such projects as the casino for multibillionaires being built on public land at Barangaroo, touted by the Premier as a marker of our advanced civilisation.

Below is another example: is it applicable?

The Bel Temple, Palmyra, Syria, 2014; centre: the coming of ISIS; right - the temple today.

The implications of this sequence of pictures are legally irrelevant.

Although the destruction of heritage items in war is discouraged (Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention 1954) there is no such legal sanction when the destruction is performed in peacetime.