Decolonization

End of Golden Age: Dutch museum bans term from exhibits

Title: End of Golden Age: Dutch museum bans term from exhibits
Author: Daniel Boffey
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: Sept. 13, 2019

“One of the Netherlands’ most prestigious museums has fuelled fresh debate over the the country’s colonial past by deciding it will no longer use the term Golden Age to describe the 17th century when it was at its pinnacle as a military and trading power.

(…) Tom van der Molen, the curator of the 17th century at the museum, said: “The Golden Age occupies an important place in Western historiography that is strongly linked to national pride. But positive associations with the term such as prosperity, peace, opulence and innocence do not cover the charge of historical reality in this period. The term ignores the many negative sides of the 17th century such as poverty, war, forced labour and human trafficking.”

Icom Kyoto 2019 conference: key takeaways from the decolonisation and restitution panel

Title: Icom Kyoto 2019 conference: key takeaways from the decolonisation and restitution panel
Author: Tonya Nelson
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: Sept. 9, 2019

“The session was both thought-provoking and challenging. It raised a number of questions that speak to the fundamental purpose of museums in the 21st century: are museums shop windows that present highly polished, one-dimensional histories or platforms where the messy work of continually reshaping stories to reflect new knowledge and histories can be used to empower people and create new futures?”

Renovating the AfricaMuseum

Title: Renovating the AfricaMuseum
Authors: Margot Luyckfasseel, Sarah Van Beurden, Gillian Mathys, Tracy Tansia
Media Outlet: Africa is a Country

“The effort to decolonize, repeatedly acclaimed in the Directors’ discourses, is not only hard to reconcile with the idea of the museum as an impartial forum, it is also too invisible in practice. The integration of work by contemporary Congolese artists is an illustration of that same principle. If their work is not capable of negating the effects of colonial propaganda engrained in the building it is not because their work is not strong enough, but because there are not enough efforts to physically “decolonize” the building. The museum building is indeed protected heritage, which complicates such attempts, and which is why some voices argue that the building should serve as a museum of Western and Belgian colonization of Africa, including its propaganda apparatus, its daily practices, and its ways of representation, instead of as a museum of Africa.”

What does it mean to decolonize a museum?

Title: What does it mean to decolonize a museum?
Author: Elisa Shoenberger
Media Outlet: MuseumNext

“Artist and curator Shaheen Kasmani explains in her MuseumNext presentation “How Can We Decolonize Museums” that decolonization efforts may fail and sometimes help replicate colonial behaviors and attitudes.

(…) Former director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Olga Viso says it best in an Op-Ed for the New York Times in 2018, “If museums want to continue to have a place, they must stop seeing activists as antagonists. They must position themselves as learning communities, not impenetrable centers of self-validating authority.””