Memorials, State Domination and Inclusion versus Exclusion: The Case of the Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh

By Jonathan Zilberg.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The way in which the now completed Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh was planned and constructed provides a text book case study of why the new concern with inclusiveness in museums, as well as the issue of frictions, are so important. This paper will describe how contrary to current development models and museum practices the Tsunami Museum was built without any form of local inclusion except for the competition for choosing the architect. It will first provide a general review of the non-inclusive nature of New Order and post-Reformasi museum practice in Indonesia and the difference between models of governance which influence and define such practices. It will then describe the way in which the Indonesian public and civil society came to know about the planned museum, the complete absence of any forms of inclusiveness and the
emerging criticism and support of and for the museum. The virtual paper will conclude that the lack of inclusiveness in planning the museum and the emerging if minor critique in civil society provides critical insight into the way in which the state continues to work from within the exclusive paradigm. It proposes that this tension between inclusion and exclusion has significant ramifications for the future of this particular museum and that a high profile government project such as this reveals a disjunction within the local and international museum community over the recognition of the importance of inclusion. The museum in this case appears to fail to act as an agent of change and instead to act as an agent of symbolic domination and prestige contrary to the fundamental changes which have occurred in the museum world over the last decade.

Keywords: Inclusion, Exclusion, Civil Society Resistance, Frictions, Domination

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.99-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.158MB).

Dr. Jonathan Zilberg

Honorary Curator, Tikar Pandan, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia

Jonathan Zilberg is a cultural anthropologist specializing in museums and archives. He works in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as in museums and archives in the US, UK and France. He was recently a visiting research fellow at the Smithsonian Insitution in Washington D.C. and lives in Indonesia where he is an honorary curator with the cultural organization Tikar Pandan. He is a reviewer for Leonardo and a contributing researcher to the Department of Transtechnology at Plymouth University. His cv and project descriptions are available at http://www.trans-techresearchnet/?page_id=109.

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