Practicing Decoloniality in Museums
A Guide with Global Examples
Amsterdam University Press
The cry for decolonization has echoed throughout the museum world. Although perhaps most audibly heard in the case of ethnographic museums, many different types of museums have felt the need to engage in decolonial practices. Amidst those who have argued that an institution as deeply colonial as the museum cannot truly be decolonized, museum staff and museologists have been approaching the issue from different angles to practice decoloniality in any way they can. Practicing Decoloniality in Museums: A Guide with Global Examples collects a wide range of practices from museums whose audiences, often highly diverse, come together in sometimes contentious conversations about pasts and futures. Although there are no easy or uniform answers as to how best to deal with colonial pasts, this collection of practices functions as an accessible toolkit from which museum staff can choose in order to experiment with and implement methods according to their own needs and situations. The practices are divided thematically and include, among others, methods for decentering, improving transparency, and increasing inclusivity.
Csilla E. Ariese is a museologist specializing in community engagement and practicing decoloniality. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher to study how the Amsterdam Museum is dealing with its colonial past. Prior to this she completed her PhD, titled The Social Museum in the Caribbean: Grassroots Heritage Initiatives and Community Engagement (2018).
Magdalena Wróblewska is an art historian specializing in museology. She is a research fellow in the projects Connecting Art Histories and the Museum (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz-MPI and Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, 2012-2014) and European Colonial Heritage Modalities in Entangled Cities (Horizon 2020, 2018-2021). As head of research at the Museum of Warsaw (2015-2021) she co-curated its core exhibition and co-authored the accompanying publication Things of Warsaw (2017).