The Scottish outpost of London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Dundee, has taken a major move to distance itself from the Sackler family, who have been the subject of much controversy. The museum has taken the unprecedented step of removing the Sackler name from its galleries, following the lead of other museums and cultural centres across the world. In spite of the fact that the Sackler name will no longer be display prominently at the V&A Dundee. The museum has decide not to return the £500,000 (roughly $627,000) it received as a gift from the Sackler Trust before to its 2018 opening.
Destroying the Sackler Family Name
All references to the Sackler family’s generous donation have been remove from V&A Dundee’s displays in recent weeks. In addition, in September of 2022, a separate plaque in the museum’s Oak Room is remove.
Keeping the Funding We’ve had in the Past
During negotiations with the BBC, a representative from V&A Dundee elaborated on the museum’s position. They were quite clear that there are no intentions to negotiate the restoration of the historical capital assistance that was crucial to opening the museum. This aid is give in advance of the museum’s 2018 launch.
The Complicated Sackler Family Tree
The Sackler family has a long history of being major donors to museums and other cultural organisations across the globe. They contributed to the establishment of new departments, galleries, directorships, and curatorial positions at cultural institutions. However, their reputation was tarnished when they were blamed for contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States. Members of the Sackler family have long overseen Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical business that created Oxycontin, an extremely addictive opioid. Several members of the Sackler family were sued separately for their participation in this health crisis.
Connections Within the Sackler Family
In response to mounting pressure from artists and activists, several major institutions have announced that they will no longer accept funding from the Sackler Trust. These institutions include the Tate group, the flagship Victoria & Albert Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Tate.
In 2019, the museum officially cut connections with the family that had been providing most of its funding. The museum then began the process of removing the Sackler name from seven galleries. And then, it happen in December 2021, among them the wing housing the Temple of Dendur.
By erasing the Sackler name from its galleries, the V&A Dundee has joined a growing trend among museums and galleries. They do this throughout the world that seeks to distance itself from the Sackler family’s contentious heritage. This shift exemplifies the growing consciousness and resolve within the cultural domain to protect public health and morality in the face of extremely problematic historical ties.