"Edgar West - It's not about 'vapid contemporary apology', it's about exhibiting objects with a better understanding of their significance. This is obviously more the case with anthropological objects than with anything involving natural history - the Victorians did a good job of physically acquiring objects but there was little if any genuine concern about their function or contemporary significance - it really was literally a 'treasure hunt'. With the prevalence of the internet being 'culturally poor' is becoming less and less of an issue (and in fact saying so is inaccurate - virtually all of the objects collected during the era of Empire are not 'British' at all, so it's not British culture that's being impovershed) , alterations in museums nowadays are made to convey that artifacts did - and still do - hold deep cultural importance as well as being beautiful, and this normally results in a need for compromise in display methods. Objects from natives here on the Northwest Coast are a great example of this - many of the masks they're world-famous for are in fact not meant to be seen unless being used for a dance, much less displayed openly behind glass. Hence you develop communication with the cultural owners of objects and as such alter display methods to enrich the functions of objects - instead of being permanently behind glass, natives might occasionally visit a museum and use those masks in ceremonial dances, for example.
It can get very complicated, but the short of it is that those changes you witness are genuinely meant to enrich the functions of museum collections rather than 'sterilize' them as might be interpreted. In the simplest terms, we simply know more now than they did then. In any case, there are certainly many places that continue to pay homage to British Victorian eccentricity (in many ways a museum-worthy subject of preservation in its own right), most notably the Sloane Museum.
I don't aim to berate you or anything like that, only to educate. I've been studying this kind of stuff a lot :)"