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January 30, 2023
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‘Shot two zebras. Played tennis’: Scarborough museum confronts legacy of colonial past

Discovery of stuffed animals from central Africa and recordings from ‘human zoo’ inspires exhibition

It was when part of a Scarborough museum was being redeveloped more than a decade ago that builders found a blocked-up door. Behind it they discovered bags filled with asbestos and, under that, a collection of taxidermied animals that had been collected by a Victorian big game hunter and left to the museum.

Neglected, outdated and ethically problematic, the temptation may have been to shut the artefacts away again. Instead, the Scarborough Museums and Galleries opted to do something else with the archive bequeathed by Col James Harrison – some of it much more morally challenging than stuffed antelope heads.

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