Why I invited Donald Trump to the Museum of London

 
Sharon Ament
President Trump Holds Rally In Great Falls, Montana
Trump’s visit is part of London’s history (Source: Getty)

London is a fascinating, open, ever-evolving and polyglot city. We are intelligent but curious, a haven of knowledge and tradition, but always on the lookout for the latest idea.

We are proud of what makes us special, but open to new cultures. We’ll happily eat pie and liquor, kimchi, or jollof rice, and dance to punk, afrobeat, or bhangra. We respect genders, sexualities, and differences.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is the President of America.

Read more: Donald Trump: UK is in turmoil

This week sees these two very different worlds collide, with the President’s visit on Friday. As anyone with a Twitter account knows, Trump has often freely shared his opinions about London. He types that our city is full of violence, terrorism, and fear. We all live in a “warzone”, apparently. The hospitals can’t cope with the violence. It’s remarkable that any of us leave our homes.

Which is why I invited him to the Museum of London, a place dedicated to our city’s past, present and future, where he could learn the real story.

Should he take me up on the offer and visit, Trump will be able to see how we responded when our city actually was a warzone.

He will see how the Blitz brought us together in the face of the most terrifying adversity. He will see a city that has survived great plagues, great fires, and great fatbergs – and come out the other side diverse, tolerant, and accepting.

The Museum of London is home to over seven million objects, all telling the ever-changing story of London and its people, from 450,000 BCE to the present day.

We are currently running an exhibition at our Museum of London Docklands, called Roman Dead, which explores death and burial in ancient Londinium.

One of the exhibition’s most prized features is the remains of one particular woman. She lived millennia ago, long before we knew about the existence of Caribbean islands, let alone the Windrush Generation. She was born in the Mediterranean but died in Londinium and was of African descent. Her bones tell a story of movement and migration.

This is a story that should resonate with Trump. His grandfather, Friedrich Trump, emigrated to America at the age of 16, seeking his fortune. Donald Trump’s mother, born Mary Anne MacLeod, left her family of crofters in Scotland at 18 to make a life in New York.

Despite reports that he won’t be spending long in the capital, I hope that the President can visit our city properly and see a story that differs from the dramatic headlines. I will give him a personal tour, and will happily open the museum out-of-hours to accommodate him.

However, I accept that he may not be able to make it – his schedule will be busy. In which case, I hope that he can donate a personal object to our collection. I may not agree with Trump’s views, but I accept that his presidential visit is part of our city’s pockmarked, compelling, and ultimately life-affirming history. I want to be able to show this to future generations, when they look back at this era of British foreign relations.

The museum displays a history bound together by our diversity and differences, and a future likely to be just as exciting and varied. The US President is welcome.

Read more: May to seek 'future-proof' trading relationship during Trump's trip

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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