Connecting to Collections Care - Whose Heritage? Objects, Politics and Collections Care


8/22/2018 2:00 PM–3:30 PM
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Have you read about or had protesters demanding that parts of cultural collections are offensive or need to be removed? Have you thought about what you would do in response to such demands? Cultural heritage objects, monuments and artworks have long had the capacity to incite protest. Calls from communities for the removal of monuments and art works are coming with greater frequency in the wake of rising social activism. When such an object falls under your professional care it can be hard not to feel under attack. Taken at face value, preservation can seem to be at odds with the removal of objects on display. Difficult conversations about the place of monuments and other cultural heritage objects in our midst have been playing out in many communities.

This webinar will review some approaches that organizations have used in handling problematic collection objects with an eye towards balancing collection care and public critique. While the topics can be difficult and highly emotional, we will look at ways to provide a constructive and empathetic listening environment where both audiences and collections can come together to create productive learning arenas. Case studies include the removal of confederate monuments, WPA murals in a university setting that include insensitive racial stereotypes, and historic figures glorified in the past for behavior that is now considered predatory.

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The mission of ARCS is to represent and promote registrars and collection specialists, to educate the profession in best practices of registration and collections care, and to facilitate communication and networking.

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