The British Museum has apologized after a tweet from one of its curators saw him accused of racism and dumbing down.
The row intensified after Jane Portal, from the London of the institution of the Asia department, said that “sometimes Asian names can be confusing” in the exhibition of labels.
“We have to be careful in the use of too many,” he continued, prompting a series of critical tweets.
The museum later said in a statement: “We would like to apologise for any offence caused.”
He added: “Jane was responding to a question that’s very specific about how we can make the label information accessible to a wide range of people.”
End of the post to Twitter by @britishmuseum
Responding to a question as part of the museum of the #AskACurator initiative, Ms Portal said that “our goal is to be understandable by the age of 16” and the length of the words in the information labels could be a limiting factor.
“Dynasties and the gods have different names in different Asian languages,” she wrote. “We want to focus on the stories.”
His comments were described by a Twitter user, Dave Cochrane, as “a gigantic own goal,” while Amanda Lillywhite wrote: “don’t blame the 16 years of age!”
“Confusing to whom?”, asked Twitter user Jillian, while MrChaz asked him to “be a little less racist.”
However, the museum keeper was not completely helpless, with one Tweeter saying what she describes as “seems perfectly reasonable approach”.
The museum of the declaration adds: “the text of the Label to any object is necessarily limited, and we try to indicate the object of the story, as well as including essential information about what it is and where it comes from.
“We are not always able to reflect the complexity of the different names, for example: periods, the rulers, the gods in different cultures and languages on the labels.”
The gaffe is the latest in a series of embarrassing stories that involve the museum, the uk’s most popular visitor attraction.
Earlier this year it was confirmed that I had lost a diamond ring with a value of Â£ 750,000, while last year it was learned that a waiter that works in the Museum had knocked the thumb out of a priceless Roman sculpture.
According to the British Museum’s web page, Jane Portal began working there in 1987 as its curator of Chinese and Korean collections, and became a guard of Asia in 2014.
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