Created By: Clevomon on March 26, 2010
Troped

It Belongs In A Museum

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Guybrush Threepwood: The Diamond belongs in a museum!
King Andre: So do post-impressionist paintings, Mr Threepwood.

Stock Phrase expressing just how old and/or valuable a given MacGuffin, Artifact of Doom, or hey, maybe someone's Grampa is. Used in a few different types of plot scenarios.

Type 1: "Don't touch that MacGuffin." Here, the phrase is usually uttered by the resident Adventurer Archaeologist, but can be given by just about any Naïve Newcomer or The Everyman who happens to stumble on something very old or valuable while exploring The Ruins of the Götterdämmerung. Indiana Jones was most likely either the Trope Maker or the Trope Codifier for this particular type. There are two common variations of this type. In the first, the line serves to establish the character who utters it as a good and trustworthy person, in contrast to the person he's saying this to, who will be (or, more likely, is) devoured by the Green-Eyed Monster and will, in a relatively short time span, Kick the Dog. It's likely that their response to this phrase will, in itself, be a Kick the Dog. The second variation is less straightforward regarding good guys and bad guys. In this scenario, someone finds something old and/or valuable, sometimes in a Personal Effects Reveal, sometimes in some other scenario, but always already in someone's posession and exclaims this. Another person then goes through an explanation as to why it does not, in fact, belong there. Both characters here are quite capable of being good, and the object will most likely not go to a museum in the end, in contrast to the first one, where the object will, but after a major argument and/or Fight Scene.

Type 2: "Really? You call that a car?" This is a Sarcasm Mode version of Type 1 that gains a completely different meaning. In this case, a person is referring disparagingly to something because of its age or it doesn't work properly. The person then says that the thing is "so old/broken/weird it belongs in a museum."

Type 3: "It's too dangerous for us!" This usually occurs in An Aesop about the Green-Eyed Monster. A group finds a treasure/MacGuffin and decides to split it. But soon, everyone's turning on each other in order to get more than their own share or in order to get the artifact all to himself. Eventually a truce is reached when the group realizes that what they found is more trouble than it's worth, and the item gets sent to a museum instead.

This trope is also a Truth in Television - under UK law, museums get first refusal of any treasure found in British soil.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:"Don't touch that MacGuffin!"]]

Film
  • From Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
    Panama Hat: Small world, Dr. Jones.
    Indiana Jones: Too small for two of us.
    Panama Hat: This is the second time I've had to reclaim my property from you.
    Indiana Jones: That belongs in a museum.
    Panama Hat: So do you.

Literature
  • A Civil Campaign: Miles offers his grandmother's old saddle to Ekaterin. His grandmother being the daughter of the Emperor, Princess Vorbarra and Countess Vorkosigan. When Ekaterin exclaims this line, Miles replies that it was made to be used, and belongs under a fine lady, not glass.

Live-Action TV
  • Came up in The Dick Van Dyke Show of all places. Rob inherited an old-fashioned roll top desk from his Identical Grandfather, and searched it for a treasure which the grandfather had implied was hidden in it. The treasure turned out to be a picture of Abraham Lincoln taken by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. At first they were going to sell it, then weren't sure, and ended up giving it on permanant loan to a museum.
  • Frequently used by Sydney Fox in Relic Hunter.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, episode "British East Africa, September 1909"
Teddy Roosevelt: Beasts such as these belong in a museum, for everyone to share.

Video Games
  • An comic example occurs in Harvest Moon Animal Parade during a cutscene in which Calvin, the resident Indiana Jones Expy, angrily declares this line to Luke and Owen, who are trying to smash down a millenium-old wall in order to get to more ore.
  • Used in The Curse of Monkey Island, resulting in the above page quote.
    • Also, in The Secret of Monkey Island you can claim that the Idol of Many Hands "belongs in a museum" when you are caught trying to steal it.

Web Animation
Cheerleader: This is taking too long!
What's Her Face: I'm already bored!
So and So: I'm going home!
The Ugly One: I belong in a museum!

Western Animation
Sulu: It would have looked nice in some museum.
Spock: It never would have reached a museum, Lieutenant. There was too much power in that one setting. If not the Kzinti, the Klingons or some other species would have tried to possess it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:"Really? You call that a car?"]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:"It's too dangerous for us!"]] Western Animation Arthur and Buster did a type 3 with an arrowhead they found at an archeological dig. [[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • March 19, 2010
    LickyLindsay
    Indiana Jones may or may not be the real Trope Maker, is almost certainly where the three examples given by the OP got the idea.
  • March 19, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Here's the original quote, I think:
    Panama Hat: Small world, Dr. Jones.
    Indiana Jones: Too small for two of us.
    Panama Hat: This is the second time I've had to reclaim my property from you.
    Indiana Jones: That belongs in a museum.
    Panama Hat: So do you.
  • March 19, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Came up in The Dick Van Dyke Show of all places. Rob inherited an old-fashioned roll top desk from his Identical Grandfather, and searched it for a treasure which the grandfather had implied was hidden in it. The treasure turned out to be a picture of Abraham Lincoln taken by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. At first they were going to sell it, then weren't sure, and ended up giving it on permanant loan to a museum.
  • March 19, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Truth In Television: Under UK law, museums get first refusal of any treasure found in British soil.
  • March 19, 2010
    foxley
    Frequently used by Sydney Fox in Relic Hunter.
  • March 19, 2010
    callsignecho
    • A Civil Campaign: Miles offers his grandmother's old saddle to Ekaterin. His grandmother being the daughter of the Emperor, Princess Vorbarra and Countess Vorkosigan. When Ekaterin exclaims this line, Miles replies that it was made to be used, and belongs under a fine lady, not glass.
  • March 22, 2010
    Arivne
    BTW, the Indiana Jones example is in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

    IMDb Quotes for "belongs in a museum":

    Live Action TV
    • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, episode "British East Africa, September 1909"
    Teddy Roosevelt: Beasts such as these belong in a museum, for everyone to share.

    Video Games
    Guybrush Threepwood: The Diamond belongs in a museum!
    King Andre: So do post-impressionist paintings, Mr Threepwood.

    Web Animation
    Cheerleader: This is taking too long!
    What's Her Face: I'm already bored!
    So and So: I'm going home!
    The Ugly One: I belong in a museum!
  • March 23, 2010
    karstovich
    I think you should either include or distinguish this from use of the phrase "it belongs in a museum" to refer disparagingly to something that is decrepitly old, (e.g. The Alleged Car, somebody's grandpa, etc.).
  • March 23, 2010
    Clevomon
    Hm... that's a good point. Thanks! It's so different from the other two, I'm leaning toward excluding it, but I'd like to know what other people think, so I'm going to mention the concept in the main entry for the moment.
  • March 24, 2010
    Arivne
    I would definitely exclude the other use of the phrase because of its completely different meaning. I've often heard it in another form: "That X is such a museum piece."
  • March 24, 2010
    karstovich
    If you do exclude it, then you'll at minimum have to mention it as an "I Thought It Meant," because frankly, at least when I saw the title, I did think it meant that.
  • March 24, 2010
    arromdee
    Star Trek The Animated Series, "The Slaver Weapon": (paraphrase since it's been ages since I saw it)
    Too bad, it would have looked nice in a museum
    Spock: It never would have stayed in a museum. There was too much power in that one setting.

    I'm sure someone who actually has DVDs of this can look it up.
  • March 24, 2010
    Tezcat
    For a clearer title, how about something along the lines of 'Preserve it for Posterity'
  • March 24, 2010
    Clevomon
    Tezcat, that is an idea, but most stock phrase titles are the line being referred to, right?
  • March 24, 2010
    randomsurfer
    I say include the other version, because it's a Sarcasm Mode version of the played straight use. But list it separately.
  • March 24, 2010
    Tezcat
    To be honest Belongs in a Museum made me think of 'it's too old/out-of-date' before 'I think this item should be preserved for historical reasons'.

    Listing them on the same page leaves us with the title, but two completely separate sayings and meanings.
  • March 24, 2010
    Clevomon
    Well, randomsurfer does have a point that one is sort of a Sarcasm Mode for the other. If we marked it as such and had separate categories for examples, it might work.
  • March 24, 2010
    Sackett
    "it belongs in a museum" as a reference to something being too old is pretty common and needs to be included on a page of this name.

    Maybe a soft split?
  • March 24, 2010
    Clevomon
    Sackett, you mean like a subtrope? I'm sorry - I'm still relatively new to writing in the YKTTW.
  • March 24, 2010
    deathjavu
    It's like saying, split examples in to type 1, type 2, then explain what type 1 and type 2 are on the same page once you launch it. Maybe even a section for "ambiguous" or "both". That's a soft split.

    Edit: like so.
  • March 24, 2010
    Clevomon
    Aah, okay, yeah, that sounds doable. Does anyone have any objections?
  • March 24, 2010
    berr
    You possibly overlooked:

    Type 3 -- An Aesop. The characters either spend the entire show searching for, or have in their posession a valuable artifact that inspires Gold Fever and possibly divides the characters, who concoct ever more elaborate schemes to make themselves rich from it, but then at the episode they realize that no one should have it because It Belongs In A Museum. So they turn it over and celebrate.

    (often it's revealed in a Broken Aesop that they kept something valuable for themselves. what's the trope name for that?)
  • March 24, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Arthur and Buster did a type 3 with an arrowhead they found at an archeological dig.
  • March 25, 2010
    Arivne
    @arromdee: The exact quote is below.

    Western Animation
    Sulu: It would have looked nice in some museum.
    Spock: It never would have reached a museum, Lieutenant. There was too much power in that one setting. If not the Kzinti, the Klingons or some other species would have tried to possess it.

    The Homestar Runner is a parody of the Indiana Jones line, not a self-disparaging remark, so I'd leave it in the "standard" section.
  • March 25, 2010
    Meems
    In addition to the example from Curse, in The Secret of Monkey Island you can claim that the Idol of Many Hands "belongs in a museum" when you are caught trying to steal it.

    Both Monkey Island examples are almost certainly referencing the Indiana Jones line - the Monkey Island series is owned by Lucas Arts.
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