Theme 1: Society, Culture and Identity


Museums have stuck to traditional rules of focusing interpretation only on the object, having a single exceptional curator, and top-down dissemination of information. One California museum has created a different cultural exhibit that rejects all of these pillars to create an active museum. New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU Los Gatos) recently held an exhibition titled: Reclamation: Resilience of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. Collaborating with the Muwekma Ohlone, aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay Region, this exhibit spotlights and provides a platform for the Muwekma to the surrounding Los Gatos community who may not be aware of the local indigenous community and their fight for federal recognition. To show how this exhibit can be a blueprint for authentically exhibiting a cultural group, I employ two tools -- five steps referred to as the Processes of Decolonization and the Dimensions of Curation Competing Values Exhibition Model. The model consists of 3 axes, interpretive focus, curatorial power, and curatorial intent. I hope to show readers that cultural exhibitions can and should employ modern ideas of authenticity and practices for proper representation. Employing these strategies ensures museums stop essentializing cultures and reinforcing the museum’s roots in racism and classism.



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