Arts and Literature

New York museum rectifies exhibits with Indigenous groups’ help

Written by The Frontier Post

NEW YORK: (dpa): The American Museum of Natural History in New York has revamped its exhibition rooms on Indigenous history in cooperation with representatives of different groups after it was accused of mispresenting their history without their consultation.

“Indigenous peoples and museums have not always had the best of relationships,” Morgan Guerin, co-curator and representative of the Musqueam Indigenous People, said during a preview of the revamped Northwest Coast Hall, set to open on May 13.

“But here it was a completely different story.” The Northwest Coast Hall opened its doors in 1899 as the first exhibition hall of the famed museum in New York’s Central Park.

Guerin said he first learned of its existence when his daughter happened to visit during a field trip and then Facetime-called him. He immediately noticed that many things were labeled incorrectly.

When curator Peter Whitely approached him later and asked for help in redesigning the exhibition, he immediately agreed – and got numerous representatives of other Indigenous groups to help him. Now the exhibition rooms are “a monument to the work of reconciliation.”

On display are more than 1,000 works, including baskets, clothing and artworks from previous centuries, as well as the iconic 19-meter-long (62-foot-long) Great Canoe.

In the past, the museum had often been accused of presenting the history of the Indigenous people incorrectly, insensitively and without their participation.

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