- Published on Sept 18, 2009
EVENT: The media is invited to a special viewing of an exhibit about the removal of a set of Native American dioramas that have been on display for almost 50 years at the Exhibit Museum of Natural History at the University of Michigan.
PLACE: Exhibit Museum of Natural History, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor.
HOSTS: Amy Harris, museum director, and Philip Deloria, professor of history and American culture, will be on hand to answer questions.
BACKGROUND: Museums around the world are wrestling with questions about the representation of indigenous people in museum exhibits. Who decides how a culture is portrayed? Does context matter? What happens when members of the community speak out against museum exhibits?
The U-M Exhibit Museum of Natural History has a set of 14 dioramas depicting Native American cultures. The dioramas are now nearly 50 years old and are long-time favorites of many museum visitors. But both Native and non-Native visitors have eloquently spoken out against them.
After years of trying to reconcile these differences through changes to the exhibits and new educational programs, the Museum has decided to take the dioramas off display in January 2010. A unique overlay exhibit, Native American Dioramas in Transition, explains the reasons for the coming change, discusses new ways of learning about Native cultures, and provides an opportunity for comment.
The university is developing a short video about the diorama story and a link to this will be available at Monday's media event.
Location and parking