Museums Are Not Neutral

LaTanya-Teressa-Mike

La Tanya Autry, Teressa Raiford, Mike Murawski.

Museums are not neutral, folks. They just aren’t.

In August 2017 Mike Murawski and I created the #MuseumsAreNotNeutral campaign to refuse the myth of neutrality that many museum professionals and others put forward. Some people routinely state that museums should be neutral or that museums can’t be “political.” As museums are cultural products that originate from colonial enterprise, they are about power. They are political constructs. Their ongoing practices also are rooted in power. The very fact that this field has a long history of excluding and marginalizing people of color in terms of selection, interpretation, and care of art and other objects, jobs, visitor services, board representation, and more indicates that museums are political spaces. Everything in them and about them involves decisions.

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#MuseumsAreNotNeutral on Instagram

We decided to join the many people before us who have highlighted this reality by building a digital & real-life community of folks who share this simple, yet bold, message #MuseumsAreNotNeutral. Community organizer & human rights organizer Teressa Raiford is one of hundreds of people who has supported our campaign. So far we’ve raised nearly $13,000 for social justice initiatives. We contribute all proceeds from sale of the shirts to nonprofit organizations that provide critical support to communities. We’ve supported Southern Poverty Law Center, World Central Kitchen, and now Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

We are proud of this project! It generates dialogue and action in the museum field, encourages more folks to work for social change, and helps improve communities across the U.S. Please join us. We get stronger together!

Get your shirt here: https://www.bonfire.com/museums-are-not-neutral/

Related:
La Tanya S. Autry, “Changing the Things I Cannot Accept: Museums Are Not Neutral,” Artstuffmatters blog, October 15, 2017, https://artstuffmatters.wordpress.com/2017/10/15/changing-the-things-i-cannot-accept-museums-are-not-neutral/

La Tanya S. Autry, Mike Murawski, and Kaywin Feldman, “Museums Are Not Neutral,” Interview by Suse Anderson, Museopunks, Episode 27, Podcast audio, June 28, 2018, https://soundcloud.com/museopunks/s2-ep27-museums-are-not-neutral.

Mike Murawski, Museums Are Not Neutral, Art Museum Teaching blog, August 31, 2017, https://artmuseumteaching.com/2017/08/31/museums-are-not-neutral/

Anabel Roque Rodriguez, “Museums Are Not Neutral,” Anabel Roque Rodriguez blog, September 13, 2017, https://www.anabelroro.com/blog/museums-are-not-neutral, reposted on Art Museum Teaching blog, https://artmuseumteaching.com/2017/09/13/museum-are-not-neutral-by-anabel-roque-rodriguez/

Anabel Roque Rodriguez, “The Myth of Museum Neutrality or Business over Education,” Anabel Roque Rodríguez blog, July 18, 2018, https://www.anabelroro.com/blog/museum-neutrality-myth

Nathan “Mudyi” Sentance, Museums Are Not F**king Neutral: The Myth of Neutrality in Memory Institutions, Your Neutrality Is Not Our Neutral,” Archival Decolonist blog, January 18, 2018, https://archivaldecolonist.com/2018/01/18/your-neutral-is-not-our-neutral/.

Jillian Steinhauer, “Museums Have a Duty to be Political,” The Art Newspaper, March 20, 2018, https://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/museums-have-a-duty-to-be-political

 

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