Museum Practice: Confronting the Past


What is a museum? Get a first look into museum practice and explore themes of identity, morality, and representation. This Ebook is an introduction to an exhibit that was on display at the Field Museum in the early 30s. Think of this exhibit as a case study to analyze through a museum practice lens. You will be reading about the difficult relationship of museums and anthropology in the 20th century.

Before you dive into the exhibit, it's important to think about museums as institutions.

Museums have a long history of definitions. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) first defined it in 1946 as: “The word ‘museums’ includes all collections open to the public, of artistic, technical, scientific, historical or archaeological material, including zoos and botanical gardens, but excluding libraries, except insofar as they maintain permanent exhibition rooms”.

This is a very simple definition and there have been many new versions since. What do you think is missing from this definition?

Throughout this Ebook, try to check in with yourself.

How are you feeling about your own understanding of and comfort with this topic?

What have your experiences been like with museums?