Article ID: CBB662996785

From museumization to decolonization: fostering critical dialogues in the history of science with a Haida eagle mask (2023)


This paper explores the process from museumization to decolonization through an examination of a Haida eagle mask currently on display in the Exploring Medicine gallery at the Science Museum in London. While elements of this discussion are well developed in some disciplines, such as Indigenous studies, anthropology and museum and heritage studies, this paper approaches the topic through the history of science, where decolonization and global perspectives are still gaining momentum. The aim therefore is to offer some opening perspectives and methods on how historians of science can use the ideas and approaches relating to decolonization in other fields, and apply them constructively to the history of science, particularly in museum settings. Decolonization is a complicated process and the focus of this paper is squarely on the preliminary steps of its implementation. To understand this process fully, the paper will recontextualize the Indigenous history of the Haida eagle mask at the Science Museum through a careful reconstruction of its provenance record. Through this process it will expose the politics of erasure and hidden voices in museum collections.

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Authors & Contributors
Bergia, Silvio
Bimm, Jordan
Boon, Tim
Delano-Smith, Catherine
Dittmann, Frank
Dragoni, Giorgio
Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology
Archives of Natural History
Technology and Culture
Acta Historica Leopoldina
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
British Journal for the History of Science
Published jointly by the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and the Science and Industry Curators Group
University of Chicago Press
Museums, Science
Museum exhibits
Social construction; constructivism
Babbage, Charles
Bagrow, Leo
Johnson, Thomas
Taylor, Frank Sherwood
Downes, John
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
17th century
19th century
Great Britain
London (England)
Berlin (Germany)
Science Museum, London
Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology
Boston Museum of Science
Science Museum
Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia

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