Museology Master of Arts Program

November 20, 2019

Transforming Spaces: A Decolonizing Approach to Collections Stewardship at the Burke Museum

Project by Lauren E. Banquer (2017)

The information surrounding museum collections, particularly material culture, is shifting from tangible to intangible heritage, i.e. from the objects themselves to oral histories, stories, rituals, and traditional knowledge. Museums are collaborating with source communities in attempts to decolonize and facilitate community agendas. The purpose of this project was to conduct and document collections reviews of the Philippines Collection in the Ethnology Division at the Burke Museum. Collections reviews are assessments of museum collection objects by source community members. They seek to draw out cultural narratives that have been suppressed by colonial factors, returning authority and knowledge to source community members. This project was implemented in four phases. The initial phases involved developing a collaborative partnership and preparing for the collections reviews. The latter phases involved conducting and documenting the collections reviews. This project resulted in a document titled “Collections Review Components” to outline the process, resources, and considerations needed to facilitate collections reviews. It also summarized major findings about the Philippines Collection at the Burke Museum.

Keywords: Class of 2017, museum, museology, museum studies, project, natural history museum, collections

Citation:

Banquer. L. (2017). Transforming Spaces: A Decolonizing Approach to Collections Stewardship at the Burke Museum. Unpublished master’s project, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.