Melting Pot on the Mall? Race, Identity, and the National Museum Complex

By Nicole Reiner.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

This essay reports on the controversial proposal to establish a National Museum of the American People (NMAP) on the Mall in Washington, D.C., and situates it in terms of the emergence of ethnically-specific museums at the Smithsonian during the past two decades, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and the proposed National Museum of the American Latino. While the latter three museums share a mandate to promote post-colonial strategies and outcomes, and embody museum reform directed toward increasing minority and indigenous agency, access and ownership over the processes of representing their culture in the capital, the NMAP counter-proposal exemplifies an antagonistic model that underscores the great need for further research and debate on the scope and future of the ethnically-specific museum in the United States.

Keywords: Ethnic Museums, Smithsonian Institution, Race and Museums

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.33-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 339.365KB).

Nicole Reiner

Student, M.A. Program in Museum Studies, New York University, New York, USA

Nicole Reiner is a New York-based independent researcher and museum professional. She holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from New York University and a B.A. in Art History from Grinnell College. Her research interests include the politics of museum and visual representation, cultural theory, and critical studies.

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