Supplemental Readings Following Education Committee Workshop

Sep 20 2019

Supplemental Readings Following Education Committee Workshop

On September 5, Four Rivers Heritage Area’s Education Committee presented a workshop entitled, “Decolonizing our Museums: Perspectives on Diversifying Our Narratives” at Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, in Edgewater.

The Education Committee has collected the following supplemental readings list to aid in discussion of this important topic.

  1. Museum July-August 2019 issue, Theme: Deconstructing Power (entire issue)
  2. History News, Winter 2019 issue (Vol. 74.1) , Theme: Slavery and Public History (entire issue)
  3. AASLH Technical Leaflet #285 (2019): Engaging Descendant Communities in the Interpretation of Slavery: A Rubric of Best Practices
  4. Amy Lonetree, Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums (UNC Press, 2012):

Quote from Introduction (page 1): Museums can be very painful sites for Native peoples, as they are intimately tied to the colonization process. The study of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and museums—the tragic stories of the past as well as examples of successful Native activism and leadership within the museum profession today—has preoccupied my professional life both inside and outside the academy. Museums have changed significantly from the days when they were considered “ivory towers of exclusivity.”  Today, Indigenous people are actively involved in making museums more open and community relevant sites. We certainly see this new development reflected in exhibitions, which are the most prominent, public face of a museum. Native Americans have witnessed a shift from curator-controlled presentations of the American Indian past to a more inclusive or collaborative process, with Native people often actively involved in determining exhibition content. It is now commonplace and expected that museum professionals will seek the input of contemporary communities when developing exhibitions focusing on American Indian content. This new relationship of “shared authority” between Native people and museum curators has changed the way Indigenous history and culture are represented and has redefined our relationship with museums. The efforts today by tribal communities to be involved in developing exhibitions point to the recognition that controlling the representation of their cultures is linked to the larger movements of self-determination and cultural sovereignty.

  1. Article:, by Elisa Shoenberger (February 2019). Here is the opening quote:

In the past few years, museums across the US, Europe, and Australia are trying to tackle the challenge of decolonizing their institutions. However, the very meaning of decolonizing is being debated. The Washington Post defines it as a process that institutions undergo to expand the perspectives they portray beyond those of the dominant cultural group, particularly “white colonizers.” Whereas, the Abbe Museum in Maine take a stronger approach by incorporating it into their Strategic plan and defining it as “at a minimum, sharing authority for the documentation and interpretation of Native culture.”

  1. Article: (9/29/2018)
  2. Article: (4/30/2018)

AASLH Technical Leaflet #285, Engaging Descendant Communities in the Intepretation of Slavery, Rubric Document: Rubric for Educ Comm

Resources shared by Marcie Taylor-Thoma, on Native Americans:

“Queer Annapolis Bibliography,” shared by Chris Mielke: Queer Annapolis Bibliography Chris Mielke