23 Sep 2015

David Fleming - The International Slavery Museum

From Nine To Noon, 10:08 am on 23 September 2015

"The most potent weapon at our disposal is education; the essence of museums, and the essence of the International Slavery Museum". David Fleming

Part of the collection of objects on display at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool

Dr David Fleming has long challenged the idea that museums should somehow remain neutral and a-political. The Director of Museums Liverpool set up the International Slavery Museum in the city in 2007 to shed more light on one of the darker, most shameful and neglected areas in history. His goal was for it to provoke "the kind of zeal and commitment that fired Martin Luther King, that made his speeches so electrifying in the cause of civil and human rights".

Dr Fleming says the Slavery museum is far from a neutral place, rather it is one of controversy, anger, honesty and campaigning. Its aim is to end racism, ignorance and intolerance and inequality.

That is something he says society is sadly still grappling with. When the museum opened, a visiting African American lecturer and her young were racially abused in the street.

Dr Fleming is the founding President of the International Federation for Human Rights Museums, and is currently visiting Te Papa which is hosting the federation's annual conference.

He spoke to Lynn Freeman on Nine to Noon.