“That museums are today seen by many as ‘neutral’ is a testament to the extent that the histories of museum spaces have been buried by their modern operators. To examine those histories is to know that museums are really crime scenes–to use a metaphor proposed by Wandile Kasibe of IZIKO Museums of South Africa—spaces that house the memories of atrocities committed during the colonial period, including theft, murder, and genocide… Today, it is impossible to find a Western museum that doesn’t hold some amount of cultural material from Africa, Asia, Oceania, or Native America—an enduring sign of the devastating afterlives of colonial rule. Wall texts often tell neutral, authoritative narratives of the objects displayed, but that passivity fails to reckon with the extractive nature of colonialism by which most of the Global South was robbed of culture, resources, and people in plain sight.”

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