Eight Treasures from the Museum of Anthropology

February 4, 2010

There's a certain expectation that is set-up when a visitor enters the Museum of Anthropology. The remote location, the serene forest setting, the welcome poles, and finally, entry into the Great Hall. All these things prepare us for ceremonial boxes, woven blankets, canoes, and totem poles. We're ready for items that sit behind glass; we can appreciate them as great art; they've been elevated beyond the simple "curios."

I have brought together the following art-objects to interrupt these expectations. What is an anthropology museum? What should it display? These eight objects illustrate the ongoing (and very necessary) exchange that is taking place between Aboriginal communities and institutions like the MoA. I like to think of them as "insertions"—disrupting the ordinary museum dialogue and, in doing so, making the invisible visible.

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