The display showed mankind’s migration from Africa. But it was ordered to be changed to “update (the) non-inclusive narrative”, according to internal documents. Now, the exhibit has been boarded up. The display called “How Did You Get Here?” focused on humanity’s common lineage. It showed a panel stating that the “human journey began in Africa” and “all humans alive today descend from African ancestors”.
Maps in the display also showed how mankind spread to the Americas and Polynesia.
Figurines, model boats, a bow, and drums to illustrate the far-flung areas of Homo Sapien colonisation were all also on display.
But the cabinet on prehistoric “pioneers who open up new worlds” has been covered with white hoardings that say staff are “updating the contents of this case”.
They have asked visitors to “bear with us and enjoy the rest of the gallery”.
The Science Museum is yet to give a schedule for the changes to the display and have not specified which objects in the cabinet display were classed as “non-inclusive”.
But it is understood the display contained a hula girl figurine – an object that has recently been criticised for presenting a stereotypical view of Polynesian people.
The decision has kicked up a storm on social media.
Frank Furedi, an author and social commentator, wrote on Twitter: “Increasingly ideology has insinuated itself in the public representation of science.
“It threatens to corrode the authority of science.”
Michael Clark posted: “This is a disturbing development at the Science Museum.
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“Inevitably scientists have had to engage with the public and with the zeitgeist.”
He added: “For example, science has been shaped by the zeitgeist, as in the regulations relating to embryo research and the genetic engineering of organisms. Scientists have also shaped the zeitgeist – spectacularly with climate change.
“As for museum curators, they also have to engage with the public and the zeitgeist.
“As far as I am concerned, the key test for a museum exhibit is whether it represents the underlying scientific consensus in a clear and engaging manner to a wide constituency.”
A spokesman for the Science Museum said: “The How did I get here? display in the Who Am I? gallery is currently covered while curators review content that is more than a decade old relating to migration, race and genetics which no longer reflects current scientific thinking.
“We are planning to update the Who Am I? gallery on a rolling basis, where resource allows, to reflect areas where there has been fresh research or a shift in scientific understanding.”
This comes after the Science Museum came under fire last month for its “woke” stance on transgender issues.
The museum decided to alter its “Boy or Girl?” display following complaints about a “lack of mention of transgender”.
Speaking on GB News Ex-Tory London Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: “It just shows you how political this has become.
“This isn’t about science, this is about being woke, this is about being right.
“What they are really doing here is ignoring the inalienable fact that sex, biological sex, reproductive sex, exists and it should reflect that above any organisation because they are the Science Museum.”
The proposals were to alter the exhibition were also criticised by Maya Forstater, executive director of campaign group Sex Matters and winner of a prominent employment tribunal relating to her “gender-critical” views.
She said: “It is concerning that a place dedicated to science is being swayed by cultural trends in this way.”