“If museums wish to turn into institutions that pose questions instead of administering conventional truths, they need to radically reconsider their internal structure, the training of their professionals, and, most of all, their relation with users.”
— Elena Delgado. Museo de America, Madrid
In recent decades there has been a growing global debate about the role of ethnographic museums in contemporary society. From Australia and Indonesia to the Netherlands and the United States, scholars, museum professionals, government officials and leaders of indigenous peoples have engaged a range of questions with implications for the future of these museums.
My work with museums, libraries and non-profits has often involved helping them identify funding sources for art or historical activities such as interpretive programming or outreach to new audiences. All too often the institutions seeking support make the assumption that all foundations with “arts” or “culture” programs are potential grant sources. They do not realize the wide range of funding approaches in cultural philanthropy, from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which helps “excellent institutions” undertake serious scholarship on and preserve their collections, to the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which funds cultural activities “through the lens of social justice.” Nor do grant-seekers realize that cultural philanthropy is undergoing re-examination, with the result that some foundations are shifting traditional approaches and adopting new funding perspectives.
In 1942 the United States adopted Executive Order No. 9066, calling for the forcible exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast through detention in internment camps. This order affected more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were interned for nearly three years during World War II.
Fresno County is the only part of California where there were two assembly centers for local Japanese Americans ordered to relocate to internment camps. Thousands of residents were brought to these camps for processing before being sent on to permanent camps in other states. For those rounded up for internment, the experience was life changing. No longer accorded the rights that they expected and deserved as Americans, those imprisoned now symbolize the potential for democracy itself to be eroded in time of uncertainty and crisis. Continue reading “Farewell to Manzanar” Focus of California Reads in Fresno→