First Nations people mining the museum*: A case study of change at the Glenbow Museum
This thesis is an examination of the representation of First Nations cultures at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Canada. Focusing on public display, I look at four in-house exhibitions that illustrate some of the decolonizing strategies Glenbow has employed following the controversial exhibition in 1988, The Spirit Sings: Artistic Traditions of Canada's First Peoples and the subsequent Task Force Report, Turning the Page: Forging New Partnerships Between Museums and First Peoples, released in 1992. I engage the concept of museumism as a strategy used in all four exhibitions, an approach that uses the museum as a format to reclaim and revise history and shifts museological practices that once negated Aboriginal knowledge and protocol. Aboriginal participation in exhibition development has reclassified the museum from interpreter and preserver to facilitator and collaborator. The Museum is transformed into a space for dialogue where issues of representation, consultation, access and self-determination can be played out and anticipates a future of mutual goals and shared histories.
*The phrase “Mining the Museum” is borrowed from Lisa G. Corrin., ed., Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson (New York: The New Press, 1994).
0326: Cultural anthropology