A prominent journalist has warned that the Swedish government is setting out to destroy national museums by transforming them into “propaganda centres for multiculturalism”.
Writing in Svenska Dagbladet, long-time China correspondent Ola Wong condemned the Red-Green coalition’s decision to prioritise a political agenda over knowledge in the country’s museums.
Author and journalist Mr. Wong reported that Sweden’s Ethnographic Museum and Mediterranean museums are to be replaced by a Museum of World Culture.
He said that the new museum will focus on promoting “migration, integration, democracy and human creativity”, replacing the current museums with their “world-renowned” collections and libraries.
He wrote: “Even when the Minister of Culture Alice Bah Kuhnke (Green party) appointed Ann Follin, as head of the National Museums of World last year, she showed an astonishing lack of interest in, well, the world’s cultures – beyond Swedish domestic politics.
“The press meeting was about using museums to ‘strengthen the tolerance of multiculturalism’. Knowledge was not mentioned.”
Asserting that museums should be places where people can “gain knowledge and insights you did not know about”, Mr. Wong said under the direction of Ms. Follin they are the opposite.
Speaking of plans to gut the East Asian Museum, he warned that Ms. Follin wants to “double visitors by going from what ‘we think is important to what the audience thinks is relevant’”.
Outlining that it is the job of experts to enable visitors to learn about new things, Mr. Wong pointed in disgust to the fact that under the new museum chief, “a new Kids/Young Advisory Board shall disclose the expertise” for the East Asian Museum.
“The East Asian Museum’s biggest blockbuster, Terracotta Warriors in 2010, was not stupefying or moralising.
“But the exhibition Follin hailed as her favorite is the Silk Road last year, whose advertising misleadingly produced Tang China as a role model for women leaders and multiculturalism,” Mr. Wong said.
Noting that world museums can be “extremely politicised”, the journalist compared the situation with Swedish museums to those in other countries.
Mr. Wong contended: “The Metropolitan in New York and the British Museum have boards with expertise that may hinder political whims. In Sweden all it takes is a minister to destroy generations of work”.
Blasting Ms. Follin’s decision to abolish museum directors so that since June bureaucrats and the marketing department have “completely taken over”, Mr. Wong lamented that Sweden’s museums will be made into “an irrelevant PR agency for happy-clappy multiculturalism”.