One of the main struggles facing museums today is determining the best way to represent different cultures when creating an exhibit. As more museums shift to include different community stories, this becomes a challenge to create an accurate depiction of the culture. One solution has been including members of the community to work with the […]Read more "Voices Growing Louder: Native American History Told Their Way"
The Penn Museum’s current exhibit Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now is a powerful celebration of contemporary indigenous cultures as living, breathing entities. Native American history as commonly recounted in the United States is a tale of woe and loss, framing Native groups as near extinct and struggling to survive. Post-contact Native history is […]Read more "Native American Voices: Come and Listen"
Alcatraz Island is located 188 miles from my home in northern California. As a child, I visited the site a few times on school field trips, and have since been twice as an adult. Each time I was there I had a positive experience learning about the history of the island as a prison. What […]Read more "Alcatraz, The Birthplace of the Native American Red Power Movement"
What do you think of when you hear the words “Native American?” Do you imagine a noble warrior with a feathered headdress? A homeless man begging for change and carrying a bottle of cheap whiskey? A spiritual shaman dispensing ancient words of wisdom? A cartoonish sports team mascot? All of the these portrayals are common […]Read more "“A Beautiful and Ugly Thing”: Moving Beyond Stereotypes"
Vandalism normally is bad for historic sites. It is destructive and illegal, especially when done on federal property. So why does the National Park Service protect Native American graffiti on Alcatraz Island? When Alcatraz Island became a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972, the NPS assumed responsibility for preserving and interpreting […]Read more "Graffiti as History"
As a woman in today’s culture, I can’t deny that I love a new piece of jewelry. Be it a gift from a special someone or window-shopping at the mall, I am attracted to the shiniest thing in the display case. Buying the most unique item in the store is often the goal, with hopes […]Read more "When Authenticity Matters"
I was an exceptionally awkward teenager. I typically had few, if any friends. I conversed more easily with adults twenty to thirty years my senior than I ever did with my compatriots. The only place I really felt like I belonged was on the football team, but even then, my tendency to read books in […]Read more "Awkward Understanding"
On May 1, Americans discovered that the United States military had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. As I watched CNN with my roommates, the television commentators announced that the military code name for the operation to capture bin Laden was “Geronimo.” When I heard the […]Read more "“Geronimo EKIA”"
“How can you criticize our history? You did the same thing in America to the Indians.” I was on the Perth subway with several classmates two days after arriving in Australia. In a casual conversation with the stranger, a classmate had explained that we were spending time with members of the Noongar tribe in Western […]Read more "Bringing History Home"
Is a museum a place where cultures go to die, or where they go to live? According to James Clifford, the answer is increasingly the latter. Museums are becoming places of cultural exchange, reciprocity, and contest. They are becoming contact zones, where cultures enter into ongoing relationships. According to Clifford, “When museums are seen as […]Read more "Creating the Future Through the Past"