Race, Remembrance, and Reconciliation: International Dialogue in National Museums
Chair: Julie L. McGee, University of Delaware
The year 2016 marks the opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s newest museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.: The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Framed as constructive and palliative, for remembrance, race dialogue, reconciliation, and healing, the NMAAHC seeks to foreground African American history and culture in a broader global context inclusive of freedom struggles.
In this open format session, scholars, curators, artists, and educators embrace the complexity and contradictions embedded in visions of museology and arts and heritage management as agents of emancipation and social repair. Of concern is the performative nature of museums in the twenty-first century vis-à-vis race, remembrance, and reconciliation—potentially ambiguous yet on-going engagements. What roles do objects, history, or cultural heritage perform under such curatorial and museological mandates and visions? How do changing sociopolitical and cultural landscapes and challenges to representational politics shape museum practices? Deep spatial memory, in the USA and South Africa, and Black centered cultural institutions and programming are considered. Designed as a forum led by thought-provoking contributors, this session offers an open conversation on the intersection of race, remembrance, and reconciliation in cultural institutions.
NMAAHC and the Deep Memory of Black Spaces
Mabel O. Wilson, Columbia University
Remembrance: An African American Museum Dialogue
David C. Driskell, University of Maryland, College Park
Museums and Reconciliation during the Civil Rights Movement: The Case of the Studio Museum in Harlem
Susan E. Cahan, Yale University
Museums for ALL: Toward a Critical Approach to the Re-conceptualization of Museums
Wayne Alexander, Iziko Museums of South Africa, Cape Town
Thursday, Feb. 4, 9:30 AM—12:00 PM
Location: Salon 3, Lobby Level
Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel