October 27, 2015; The Wharf
Last weekend was Halloween. Maybe you took the kids out to trick-or-treat, or maybe you left the lights off and pretended not to be home to trick the tricksters into leaving you alone. Or, if you were in London, England, maybe you trekked over to the Jack the Ripper Museum to take selfies with the serial killer and his victims—just their mannequins, of course.
NPQ’s been following the museum as it continues to stir controversy, and it did not disappoint this Halloween. For the holiday, the museum featured a special for museumgoers. According to the press release:
For one weekend only, museum visitors can meet Jack the Ripper. Dare you have a selfie with him in his sitting room where he planned his horrific murders? Or how about a picture with Jack in Mitre Square together with the body of Catherine Eddowes? Are you brave enough to meet him in Mary Jane Kelly’s bedroom—the scene of the most horrific of all Jack the Ripper’s murders. Just be careful not to meet Jack in the basement morgue!
Unsurprisingly, the museum’s critics are horrified. NPQ has previously pointed to concerns from the local East End community and worries about the overall lack of support for the project. But perhaps more than ever, there seems to be a contradiction in how the museum is portraying itself and what it is actually doing in practice.
The website indicates that for the first time, this museum “tells the story of the man known as ‘Jack the Ripper’ from the perspective of six of the women who were his victims.” If this is the aim of the museum, which founder Marc Palmer-Edgecumbe continues to hold that it is, the museum is falling short. Sensationalizing the murder of these women by turning them into marketing devices is not respectfully showing their perspectives. One wonders exactly how the museum could show the perspectives of these women by focusing wholly on their murderer.
Palmer-Edgecumbe has since responded to the slurs levied against him. “The Jack the Ripper Museum is a fully immersive experience and on Halloween visitors will be able to experience the London of 1888 in the presence of Jack the Ripper, our weekend of events are educational as well as scary.” The only thing scary about the museum may be how bad the PR has been for it.
Regardless, the public doesn’t seem to be appeased, at least on Twitter anyway. Many users have taken to the site to express their continued dissatisfaction.
— Amy Whitelock Gibbs (@AmyLWGibbs) October 29, 2015
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The more I hear about that new Jack the Ripper museum the more disgusting it becomes — Holly Nielsen (@nielsen_holly) October 20, 2015
Jack the Ripper Museum perhaps points to a horrifying future in which former bankers are the people running museums – http://t.co/iA7JaFsUCz
— Jack Gann (@jackrgann) October 16, 2015
— Jenn Selby (@JennSelby) October 25, 2015