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Canadian Museum of Civilization, Stalked by a Trojan Horse

Dan Gallacher

Ancient Troy withstood pressures at its walls for a decade. Ultimately the Greek attackers, applying an extraordinary ruse, swept in looting or destroying everything. Located on a major trade route with acquisitive Hittite hordes to its east and an aggressive Mycenaean host west across the Aegean, Troy was a highly tempting target.

In the past decade, invading and stripping half the Museum of Civilization became a vital mission to a handful of nationalist historians, and their choice of a Trojan Horse is the federal government. Those traditionalists, supported on record by a now boxed-in management, aim at replacing virtually all the main history galleries which now feature ordinary people and everyday life in Canada from AD1000 to 2000, east to west, by inserting instead displays portraying landmark political events, episodes, or persons. In short, the Museum would jettison its broad social history narrative for past parables stitched together with timelines, pictures, and labels covering the walls. Textbooks, anyone?