How can museums use object-centred approaches to communicate global and local histories of the past 300 years in the context of shifting structures of political and cultural power, including imperial, postcolonial and neo-colonial narratives?
This panel will ask how museums can explore the last 300 years of global history through their collections. Specifically, how can object-centred approaches be developed that allow museums to communicate global and local histories in the context of shifting structures of political and cultural power, including imperial, postcolonial and neo-colonial narratives? This question is raised in the context of the recent creation of the British Museum's cross departmental research group, Global, Imperial and Local Histories, 1700 to present, and one of its identified challenges: to consider what objects and stories should be prioritised in any future gallery of the modern world. Papers will consider a broad range of topics relating to the British Museum's or other institutions' collections, including but not restricted to: curatorial engagement with the history of Empire and decolonisation; colonial collecting and how this is addressed across permanent displays; collecting and representing the contemporary; the role of contemporary art in mediating between the present and recent histories; theorisations and deconstructions of the modern in history museums; specific ongoing or forthcoming gallery projects; ethical issues of representing the recent past, and 'modern' imperial, global, or local stories that should feature in a gallery of the modern world.