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The changing role of migration museums in Australia

16 Curating relations between ‘us’ and ‘them’: the changing role of migration museums in Australia1 Andrea Witcomb I would also like to ask two related things … which have puzzled me since a brief visit to the museum some years ago. One is to ask if you want donations of crafts and small items used in households in South Australia during [the] last century? These are from the wave of first settlers, ie. Anglo-Celtic. The related question is whether the museum is mainly about the subsequent waves of settlers or is the history of the early mainly Anglo

in Curatopia
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Museums and the future of curatorship

What is the future of curatorial practice? How can the relationships between Indigenous people in the Pacific, collections in Euro-American institutions and curatorial knowledge in museums globally be (re)conceptualised in reciprocal and symmetrical ways? Is there an ideal model, a ‘curatopia’, whether in the form of a utopia or dystopia, which can enable the reinvention of ethnographic museums and address their difficult colonial legacies? This volume addresses these questions by considering the current state of the play in curatorial practice, reviewing the different models and approaches operating in different museums, galleries and cultural organisations around the world, and debating the emerging concerns, challenges and opportunities. The subject areas range over native and tribal cultures, anthropology, art, history, migration and settler culture, among others. Topics covered include: contemporary curatorial theory, new museum trends, models and paradigms, the state of research and scholarship, the impact of new media and current issues such as curatorial leadership, collecting and collection access and use, exhibition development and community engagement. The volume is international in scope and covers three broad regions – Europe, North America and the Pacific. The contributors are leading and emerging scholars and practitioners in their respective fields, all of whom have worked in and with universities and museums, and are therefore perfectly placed to reshape the dialogue between academia and the professional museum world.

concerned with what lies behind the creation and resourcing of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa), the Musée du Quai Branly or the National Museum of Australia, the ascendancy of the British Museum, or museum-friendly policies on the part of governments and local authorities – though of course there is much to be said about new conceptions of culture and governance, and the growing preoccupation with tourism as a driver for urban regeneration and economic growth. I am interested, rather, in how we (curators of ethnographic collections) conceive of what we

in Curatopia

development of the professional role of history curator, like the notion of academic history, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Curating Te Papa 1998 By the time New Zealand’s national museum was being developed into what would become Te Papa, with an avowed focus on multidisciplinary displays, the curating and exhibiting of history looked very different. The form of this ‘new’ history was shaped by a range of factors familiar to those in other revamped national museums in Canada and Australia at this time: the wider political and social context, ideas about popular

in Curatopia
Remaking the ethnographic museum in the global contemporary

are emotionally fraught.32 How can this thinking be translated into museum practice? We want to illustrate this through the Australian Aboriginal artist Christian Thompson’s ongoing collaboration with the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK. Thompson was born in 1978 to a father of the Bidjara Indigenous people of central South West Queensland, Australia, and a mother of British heritage. He was educated in the Netherlands and in England, winning a Charlie Perkins Scholarship to the University of Oxford in 2010, making him one of the first two Australian Aboriginal

in Curatopia
Pluralism and the politics of change in Canada’s national museums

video presentations, a billboard piece in the old market area nearby, and satellite exhibits in nine other art galleries and exhibition spaces in the city. The NGC curators Greg Hill and Christine Lalonde, and guest curator Candice Hopkins, are specialists in North American Aboriginal art. Working with an international advisory committee scattered around the globe, they selected seventy-seven artists from Canada, the USA, Greenland, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Samoa, Hawai’i, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, India and Scandinavia.29 Other messages were

in Curatopia

Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, Belgium. 13 Museum voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 14 The Pyramid, Memphis, Egypt, and Florida International Museum, Saint Petersburg, USA. 15 Petit Palais, Paris, France. 16 City Art Centre, Edinburgh, UK. 17 Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA. 18 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. 19 National Geographic Museum, Washington DC, and the Irving Arts Centre. USA. 20 Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA. 21 Musée des Beaux Arts, Montreal, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada

in Curatopia
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A Tongan ‘akau in New England

Experiences (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), pp. 206–46. See also Kahanu, Nepia and Schorch, Chapter 18 below. 17 G. Edgers, ‘Ritual Offerings, Peabody Essex Museum’, Boston Globe (10 August 2006), quoting a museum spokesperson. I repeat this observation from I.  Gaskell,  ‘Encountering Pacific Art’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, 21 (2009), 202–10. 18 T.P. Kāwika Tengan, ‘The Mana of Kū: Indigenous Nationhood, Masculinity and Authority in Hawai’i’, in New Mana: Transformations of a Classic Concept in Pacific Languages and Cultures (Canberra: Australian

in Curatopia
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planners in ways that are rarely recorded explicitly. So, what does an archaeology of lunacy look like? While lunacy in the past was not exclusively institutional, the study of historic asylums allows for a quantitative survey of the ways in which lunacy was conceived of and treated. This study of the subject of lunacy and asylums focuses, therefore, on the archaeology of those institutions where lunacy was managed within a framework: the asylums. Approaches to this subject in the United States and Australia have drawn heavily on historical

in An archaeology of lunacy
From Samoa with Love? at the Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich

Germany between 1895 and 1911 with the Marquardt brothers, and to match these names with the faces in the historical photos of the show. This was the starting point in reconstructing their villages of origin and locating descendants in Samoa, Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia whom I could ask about Samoan perspectives. These conversations provoked a number of genealogical stories, oral history narratives of the Samoan travellers’ lives before and after their participation in the tours, and their impressions while in Germany. There were also material reminiscences

in Curatopia