Responding to feminist, postcolonial, and memorialistic critiques, museums have over the past decades radically revised their protocols of collection and display, aiming to register in their own curatorial and pedagogical practice the open and contested nature of the historical and ethnographic narratives on which their object lessons had traditionally conferred the status of hard evidence. In this new emphasis on the “museum encounter” as a performative and intersubjective “event”—sometimes referred to as the “educational turn” in museum curatorship—a new type of “inclusive museum” has emerged in diverse geographical and political settings. The inclusive museum seeks to recover the museum’s social role as a purveyor of shared, collective meanings precisely in departing from its high-modern predecessor and in forging “open representations” that acknowledge the diversity of the interpretative community thus interpolated. Inclusive museums, in short, aim to offer a new, contemporary stage for negotiating and performing cultural citizenship.
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