Finding Their Roots: Reconnecting Communities and Their Collections in Museums Abroad

Felicia Katz-Harris (Museum of International Folk Art)

Museums engage a wide range of practices to address historical injustices, particularly around collections of material culture. This paper reflects on repatriation, the potentialities for re-rooting "rootless" museum collections to their communities of origin, and whether and how inherited structures of power may be re-centered from the multiple perspectives of those involved. Based on early stages of collaboration with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, this paper presents current work at the Museum of International Folk Art that invites source community representatives to contribute knowledge and help piece together provenance through reconnection with heritage items and sharing stories and recollections.

Part of 07-08 Revisiting the Museum Structure/Archives, Saturday, November 04, 8:30 am–10:00 am