MP’s call for a National Museum of BAME History and Culture

I have tabled this motion with Helen Grant MP, the first black woman Conservative MP and other MPs -

"That this House recognises the important role played by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC since it opened its doors to the public on 24 September 2016, documenting and enabling the study of the life, history and culture of African Americans; notes that it serves as a place of collaboration to work with many other museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history; asserts the national importance of the life, history and culture of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the UK and their global influences; believes that there should be a DCMS-sponsored national UK museum for the study of Black, Asian and minority ethnic history and culture on a similar scale and model to the Washington Museum; and calls on the Government, whilst reviewing inequalities’ issues generally, to make an assessment of the potential merits of such a national museum."

I have asked for a debate and the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg has replied that it is suitable for a Backbench Business debate.

Commenting Oliver Heald said:

‘I was very impressed by the Smithsonian Museum of African American History in Washington and a number of us, including Helen Grant, thought it was a good idea for the Government to consider a British Museum on a similar scale covering BAME History, as part of its current review of equalities’ issues generally.’

My exchange with Jacob Rees-Mogg is below.

Photo of Oliver HealdOliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

Has my right hon. Friend had a chance to see early-day motion 675, which is sponsored by me, my hon. Friend Mrs Grant and other hon. and right hon. Friends, and which is attracting all-party support? It calls for the Government to include in their general review of equality issues an assessment of whether to set up a national museum of black, Asian and minority ethnic history and culture, somewhat similar to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. Could we have a debate in Government time to set out the benefits of such a decision? [That this House recognises the important role played by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC since it opened its doors to the public on 24 September 2016, documenting and enabling the study of the life, history and culture of African Americans; notes that it serves as a place of collaboration to work with many other museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history; asserts the national importance of the life, history and culture of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the UK and their global influences; believes that there should be a DCMS-sponsored national UK museum for the study of Black, Asian and minority ethnic history and culture on a similar scale and model to the Washington Museum; and calls on the Government, whilst reviewing inequalities’ issues generally, to make an assessment of the potential merits of such a national museum.]

 

Photo of Jacob Rees-MoggJacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for highlighting his early-day motion to me in advance. He raises an interesting and important subject that is worthy of fuller debate. I am afraid that I am going to have to refer him to the Backbench Business Committee, when that is back up and running. With so much cross-party support, as he indicates, that may well be a topic that the Committee will smile favourably on in terms of granting a debate when there is more time available to it.