On Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion: Exhibiting Native Am ...

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  • Title: On Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion: Exhibiting Native American, Maya, and African Objects at the Field Museum and Art Insti
  • Author(s): Khristin Landry, Jeff Kowalski
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Inclusive Museum
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum
  • Keywords: Museums, Anthropology, Art History, Exhibits, Curatorial Practice, Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 1835-2014 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1835-2022 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1835-2014/CGP/v10i02/11-36
  • Citation: Landry, Khristin, and Jeff Kowalski. 2017. "On Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion: Exhibiting Native American, Maya, and African Objects at the Field Museum and Art Insti." The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum 10 (2): 11-36. doi:10.18848/1835-2014/CGP/v10i02/11-36.

Abstract

The Field Museum’s anthropology exhibit “Ancient Americas” and the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibit “Indian Art of the Americas” represent two of the newest permanent installations in their respective museums as of August 2016. “Ancient Americas” opened in summer of 2007 to high acclaim. The renovated “Indian Art of the Americas” exhibit moved to a new hall in late 2011. Both exhibits feature somewhat comparable collections of objects from the Americas before the arrival of Europeans. However, the divergent histories of these different institutions, one a natural history museum and the other an art museum, create significant differences in how viewers perceive and understand such objects. Distinctive institutional exhibition designs and differing didactic approaches, based on methods of inclusion or exclusion, provide more or less information regarding the objects’ meanings as they are re-contextualized as either artifacts or as high art.