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Should this Golliwog exhibition be removed?

OFFENSIVE: Golliwog dolls CREDIT: Joe Miranda/Flickr

A COLLECTION of golliwog dolls on display at the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh could be removed after complaints from the public.

The dolls, which are based on a black fictional character that appeared in children’s books in the late 19th century, have been on display since it opened in 1955.

According to The Times, a disclaimer notice has been put up next to the dolls, stating: “We recognise that some visitors may feel the golliwogs on display in the museum represent negative racial stereotypes. We do not uphold such stereotypes and do not wish to cause any offence but believe that it is right to display these toys because they were such a significant part of British childhood from the 1890s to the 1950s."

“As soon as we have the opportunity to upgrade the museum’s displays we will consider alternative ways of interpreting these toys and reflecting the changes in attitudes towards them in more recent years.”

However, the racist connotations associated with these toys has caused an uproar with tourists, and The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights said the exhibition as it stands is “offensive”, and that if it remains there must be fuller context and information as to how the toys came about.

“If displayed there needs to be a fuller exploration of how these toys came about, the racism behind them and how they allowed, and still allow, racism to flourish,” Jatin Haria, the charity’s executive director, told The Times.

“Otherwise we, and many others, will find the Museum of Childhood offensive.”

The Museum of Childhood attracts more than 250,000 people every year and is said to be preparing to close for refurbishment.

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