The museum is a colonial enterprise, designed to be the keeper of what’s important and precious for society at-large. These institutions were often built on the bodies and belongings of Indigenous people and oppressed communities. Modern museums exist using these frameworks and despite legislation such as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), there is much work to be done to begin reconciliation and healing.
This program is part of the Social Justice in Museums Series presented by the Illinois State Museum. This series of four online programs will allow the public to look closely at what is happening in American museums today, especially in light of current protests and violence we’re seeing daily. Museums are in this mix with frequent open letters, calls to action, resignations, and more.
With the hiring of its new director, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, the ISM signaled a new era of leadership. She is an advocate for museums and their intersections with social justice and activism, community development, and memory and remembrance. In this role, she is committed to inclusive museum practices that include empathy, acknowledgement of historic and present injustices, and promote healing. Catlin-Legutko will moderate each panel, which will include thought leaders from the museum field discussing how museums can lead cultural change and healing.