Museums Interrupted: Built on the Backs of Others –

The American Alliance of Museums in partnership with ICOM US invite you to participate in a series of global conversations that will reassess the purpose, identity and definition of museums as civic spaces, public assets, prisms of identity, and repositories of tangible and intangible cultural heritage during an era of radical change. These conversations will ultimately inform the content of the November/December 2021 issue of Museum magazine on the theme of museum disruption.

Throughout history Western mainstream museums have been built on the backs of “others.”  Looting, pillaging, and stealing from cultures outside one’s own educated and affirmed the social standing of the elite – those with means. The Eurocentric notion of collecting, and its American variant, continue to be the point of departure for museological theory about the future of museums’ responsibilities to objects, to living collections, even to knowledge—i.e., intangible heritage. How could these institutions seek knowledge from their constituents to broaden and make more inclusive their guardianship of heritage? With calls to decolonize and return objects taken without permission to their culture of origin, it is time to reconsider the role museums could take in stewarding cultural assets – tangible and intangible? In what ways must museum collecting change in light of these new realities.

Featured Speaker: Clementine Deliss associate curator KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin

Dr. Clémentine Deliss works across the borders of contemporary art, curatorial practice, and critical anthropology. She is associate curator of KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, where she is developing the

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