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The Work of Culture, Heritage, and Musealized Spaces in “Unprecedented Times”

Christina Kreps

question of “whether we really need a tight definition at all” (2001: 320). The articles in this section are exemplary of the kind of visibility work being done in museum anthropology today. They not only make visible “voices out of the dark,” but also

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Interruptions: Challenges and Innovations in Exhibition-Making

The Second World Museologies Workshop, National Museum of Ethnology (MINPAKU), Osaka, December 2019

Laura Osorio Sunnucks, Nicola Levell, Anthony Shelton, Motoi Suzuki, Gwyneira Isaac, and Diana E. Marsh

. 2006 ; Kreps 2003 ; Lorente 2015 ; McCarthy 2016, 2018 ; Phillips 2011 ; Shelton 2009 , 2016 , 2018 b; Tapsell 1997 ; Yoshida and Mack 1997 ), museum anthropology in the English-speaking world has been dominated by discourses constructed within

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The Inertia of Collections

Changes against the Grain in the Rosenlew Museum of Pori, Finland

Francisco Martínez


The first aim of this article is to study the persistence of the collection's positive presentation of Rosenlew's industrial heritage, and the second is to anthropologically reconsider what kind of knowledge is generated therein through the preservation and display of factory-made artifacts, which give a sense of concreteness and gravitas to the industrial past. By studying the permanent exhibition and the collections of the Rosenlew Museum and by organizing a workshop with schoolchildren, I reveal the presence of various inertia effects. Long-term corporate values continue to influence the development of the museum's permanent collection not only through the arrangement of industrial artifacts into a collection but also—at a heuristic level—through epistemological frames and the indexing power of the museum assemblage.

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Critical Museology

A Manifesto

Anthony Shelton

Synthesizing work carried out by the author over the past twenty-five years, this article proposes a tentative disciplinary definition of critical museology, distinguishing its related methodological interdictions and describing its distinctiveness from what is here defined as operational museology. The article acknowledges the diverse intellectual sources that have informed the subject and calls for a reorientation and separation of critical museology from the operational museologies that form part of its area of study. Critical museology, it is argued, is not only an essential intellectual tool for better understanding museums, related exhibitionary institutions, fields of patrimony and counter patrimonies, and the global and local flows and conditions in which they are embedded, but is also crucial for developing new exhibitionary genres, telling untold stories, rearticulating knowledge systems for public dissemination, reimagining organizational and management structures, and repurposing museums and galleries in line with multicultural and intercultural states and communities.

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The Sacred and the Museum

Repatriation and the Trajectories of Inalienable Possessions

Chip Colwell

Since the formation of museum anthropology, scholars have been interested in collecting Native American objects of religious and spiritual significance. For many years, these objects predominately served scientific inquiry and public curiosity, but over the last three decades scholars have become increasingly aware of how indigenous communities continue to value these objects despite their radical recontextualization. This article seeks to bring together two concepts—Arjun Appadurai's “trajectories” and Annette Weiner's “inalienable possessions”—to examine how objects come to express particular forms of sacredness. By following the cultural routes of the Zuni Ahayu:da (War Gods), in part through the lens of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, we can trace what Appadurai calls “diversion” and what Wiener terms the “dilemma of loss.” Diversion and loss caused by antiquities dealers, collectors, and curators have been particularly troublesome for Zunis because the War Gods constitute a unique form of sacred object, a singular type of possession that is intrinsically sacred. Understanding the trajectories of the things taken, returned, and still held by museums will better enable scholars and tribal communities to articulate how sacred objects in museums continue to have power and salience.

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Borders and Interruptions

Museums in the Age of Global Mobility, Mexico City, 7–9 June 2017

Gwyneira Isaac, Diana E. Marsh, Laura Osorio Sunnucks, and Anthony Shelton

present article explores the origins of this workshop, as well as our impetus to build a multilingual network that recognizes and engages with the diversity in the discourse on museum anthropology and with the social issues most affecting societies in

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Repatriation as Inspiration

Multigenerational Perspectives on American Archaeology-Museum Relationships

April M. Beisaw and Penelope H. Duus

museum collections that can complicate repatriation. In the tightknit community of early 1900s museum anthropology, Moorehead and Skinner were no different from any of Putnam’s Boys. At the Field Museum, George Dorsey and his colleagues also focused on

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Greagh Smith, Conal McCarthy, Bronwyn Labrum, Ken Arnold, Dominique Poulot, Jill Haley, Jun Wei, and Safua Akeli Amaama

central to museums, anthropology, and their relationships with communities. Kreps is a senior figure in these fields, a fact reflected in the role she often plays as a mentor, editor, respondent, and reviewer, and witnessed by her expertly written

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Conal McCarthy

(BLM) movement in the United States. Christina Kreps's inspiring new publication Museums and Anthropology in the Age of Engagement is a book for these times, even though it was not written for them. In tracing the history of museum-anthropology

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Objects as Archives of a Disrupted Past

The Lengnangulong Sacred Stone from Vanuatu in France, Revisited

Hugo DeBlock

, Revisited During a trip to Vanuatu in late 2015, while I was chatting with some local staff members at the Vanuatu Cultural Center and National Museum in Port Vila, I was mentioning that I had recently submitted an article to Museum Anthropology (see