Lindow Manchester

Lindow Man and a Yorkshire “Witch”

The New Year has brought with it more comments cards left by visitors over the holiday period. This is one of the longer contributions kindly copied for me by Cat Lumb (Lead Educator, Secondary Humanities):-

“I have no problem whatsoever here, I think he is very respectfully displayed & considering the apparent violent death Lindow Man suffered, we may well ask if there is any point to instigating ideas of ‘peace’ or ‘rest’ when they have not (arguably) been robbed from him in the first place…

P.S. I imagine there are people (like me) who would not object to their exhibition in 2000 years’ time. To a man with no knowledge of ‘museums’ (as we know them), perhaps there is justification in displaying him – the education of others-besides it’s the closest thing to living on after death, really. (Smiley face).”

The question I am struggling with is whether the manner in which people died in the past makes a difference as to whether they are displayed or not. If Lindow Man was put to death as a scapegoat, as I think it is possible to argue, does that mean we should be less willing  to display him? The educational case is a strong one but what of Mary Bateman, the so-called “Yorkshire witch” who was tried for murder and hung in 1809. Her skeleton, or what’s left of it, is on display in the Thackray Museum in Leeds. You could argue that she’s paid her debt to society couldn’t you?


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