Connecting the Labor Strike with Building Cultural Institution – a Historical Precedence in Empire Building

Hotel workers and museum workers are workers

Beyond worker solidarity, please also consider that labor justice is historically and deeply connected to the building and maintenance of cultural institutions like museums. There is historic precedence.

Did you know the earliest written record so far of a labor strike (possibly by a striking artisan/ scribe) was in the seventh month of the 29th year of Ramses II’ rule (1170 BCE)? After months – possibly years – of reduced rations due to corruption of the ruling class – all the workers laid down their tools and marched out of the royal necropolis they were building. The magistrates conceded and re-routed some of the stolen rations (not full payment, of course) and the workers returned.

Just as museums are cultural institutions designed to document, perpetuate and immortalize western civilization, the Pharaonic necropolis as a vehicle of immortality justified the domination of what we know as Egypt through the body of a Pharoah. Empire games can be had on the backs of workers!

Museum professionals have a duty to act.