The Trump baby blimp flying at last year's protests against the US president in London. Image: Jane Scanlon, Creative Commons

Museums should use Trump protest artefacts "to challenge intolerance"

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 05.06.2019
Several institutions are collecting items related to US president’s state visit
The Museums Association’s (MA) director has called on museums to use their collections “to discuss issues of gender, power and discrimination” following Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK.

Large crowds gathered across the UK earlier this week to protest against the US president’s discriminatory policies, which have targeted - among others - the Muslim community, women's reproductive rights, migrants and transgender people. 

The MA’s director, Sharon Heal, said museums should use material collected from the Trump protests, and other recent demonstrations, to spark debate and challenge intolerance.

She said: “Museums should be open, welcoming and inclusive organisations that use their spaces for debate and discussion and to challenge ignorance, intolerance, prejudice and bigotry.

“I know that many museums are engaged proactively with refugee and immigrant communities and will be taking part in Refugee Week later this month. Museums are well placed to use their collections and work with their communities to explore the week's theme: ‘You, me and those who came before.’

“The MA is passionate about diversity and equality and working collaboratively, inclusively and ethically. I am sure many museums will be collecting from the anti-Trump demos and others, including the Extinction Rebellion protests.

"I would argue that we should use those collections to discuss issues of gender, power and discrimination with our communities and how we can collectively achieve a fairer and more just society.”

A number of museums have confirmed that they are collecting items related to this week’s protests. The Museum of London is hoping to acquire the “Trump baby blimp”, the oversized balloon of the US president that made its debut at last year’s protests and was flown again during this week’s demonstrations.

The Bishopsgate Institute in London has also put a call out for placards and photos from the protests to add to its archive.