Collecting, curating and exhibiting cross-cultural material histories in a post-settler society
in Curatopia
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This chapter considers social history in a postcolonial contest. It specifically examines how the history of the majority culture in a post-settler society has been and might be curated. Using Aotearoa New Zealand as its case study, it considers the figure of the Pākehā (non-indigenous) curator in relation to, and also in contrast with, Indigenous collections and displays. What does a history curator look like in a post-settler society? Does the history curator continue the mutual asymmetry that has characterised relations and curatorial endeavours? Or is there a way to recognise cross-cultural material histories? In considering the development of history, and specifically social history, it suggests that a more useful concept is material history, rather than historical material cultures studies. The rest of the chapter ranges across a broad range of material history, including fashion and clothing, and design, to consider how contemporary museums deal with everyday life and its material aspects in museums, which are still to a large extent focused on discrete objects and forms of material culture, and which carry the burden of the historical development of their collections into a post-settler world.

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