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Should the British Museum return the Benin Bronzes?

This enquiry takes the form of a debate.

Students are equipped with the evidence needed to participate in a debate about the Benin Bronzes, arguing either for the returning of the Bronzes to Nigeria or for their continued display at the British Museum.

Students are guided through the process of gathering their evidence; putting together their arguments; considering possible counter-arguments; presenting their ideas, and finally reflecting upon the debating process.

At the end of the lesson, students consider their own perspectives: should the Benin Bronzes be returned?

A further layer is added to the debate when it is revealed that the British Museum recently agreed to ‘loan’ some of the Bronzes to Nigeria; do students think that this is a positive step forward, or simply a re-affirmation of colonial power relations?

The debate itself is engaging and provocative, and hopefully, students will leave the lesson with a deeper understanding of why this issue continues to divide curators, politicians and the wider public even today!

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1a and 1b: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 and 2: PDF

Price: £12.99

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