Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Who does the new National Law Enforcement Museum serve?

On Saturday, the National Law Enforcement Museum opened to the public in Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C. The Museum, which cost $103 million to construct, has a collection of 21,000 objects, and is intended to educate visitors about the experience of working in law enforcement. Featuring twelve interactive exhibits, visitors have the opportunity to engage with forensics, enter a 911 call center and play the role of a dispatcher, or participate in an officer training simulator.

Although Dave Brant, the museum’s executive director, has stated that “this facility will help us to educate, inform, create dialogue, around both the history of law enforcement [and] the current status of law enforcement,” I have to wonder who is missing from the museum’s narrative. How does the museum address Black Lives Matter, if at all? What about the lack of women in law enforcement, and the minority officer experience?  Does the museum discuss implicit biases among officers? At a time of intense racial divides, how does the National Law Enforcement Museum plan to engage visitors in a much-needed conversation?  Moreover, what does it mean for this museum to open now, merely two weeks after the Washington Post reported that 756 individuals have been fatally shot by police in 2018?

According to the museum’s website, its mission is to “introduce visitors to the proud history and many facets of American law enforcement in an experience you won’t find anywhere else. Our ‘walk in the shoes’ experience lets visitors learn what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer through innovative and engaging exhibits, artifacts and programs. We also seek to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve with thought-provoking programs that promote dialogue on topics of current interest.”

While it seems as if the museum is trying to become a space for constructive conversations, it is clearly one-sided. Despite an entire exhibit devoted to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, there is no mention of Black Lives Matter. Ultimately, through the use of special programming and other year-round educational programs, the museum is trying to improve community relations while striving to provide an alternative view of law enforcement not often told in the media.

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Hello readers! Here’s the Weekly Jobs Roundup for the week of October 14th.

Northeast

Exhibit Designer [Museum of Science, Boston, MA]

Development Assistant [Concord Museum/Concord, MA]

Assistant Registrar [Williams College/Williamstown, MA]

Coordinator of Studio Arts and Family Programs [New Britain Museum of American Art/New Britain,  CT]

Director of Development [Greater Portland Landmarks/Portland, ME]

Mid-Atlantic

Assistant Curator of Exhibitions and Programs [Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY]

Museum General Manager [Jekyll Island Authority/Jekyll Island, GA]

Senior Director of Collections Management [Virginia Museum of Arts/Richmond, VA]

Assistant Manager of Guest Experience [Mt. Cuba Center/Hockessin, DE]

Exhibition Designer [High Museum of Art/Atlanta, GA]

Southeast

Associate Curator of Education for Public Programs [Norton Museum of Art/West Palm Beach, FL]

Development Associate [Boca Raton Museum of Art/Boca Raton, FL]

Associate Director of Development [Boca Raton Museum of Art/Boca Raton, FL]

Midwest

Education Manager [Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum/Indianapolis, IN]

Site Manager [Texas Historical Commission/Rockport, TX]

Museum Manager [Mansfield Historical Society/Mansfield, TX]

Curator and Exhibits Manager [Door County Maritime Museum/Sturgeon Bay, WI]

Educator of Visual Literacy and Learning [University Museums/Ames, IA]

West

Director of Education and Community Engagement [Pittock Mansion Society/Portland, OR]

Curatorial Practices Specialist [Anchorage Museum Association/Anchorage, Alaska]

Curatorial Assistant [Hammer Museum/Los Angeles, CA]

Exhibitions Manager [UC Riverside Arts/Riverside, CA]

Exhibitions Manager [Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/San Francisco, CA]

Decolonization Roundup

In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, we’d like to share a roundup of articles about efforts to decolonize museums around the world.

With “Donors Force a Point at the Met that Never Should Have Had to be Made”, Nonprofit Quarterly looks at the shift in location for Native American art in a new exhibit opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this month. The shift was demanded by the donors backing the exhibit, and forced the Met to locate Native American art within the American Galleries, instead of their galleries for Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, where it is usually relegated, thus separating it from “America” conceptually.

“Sarah Cascone, writing for ArtNet, says, ‘In other countries, it is common to present indigenous art as part of the wider arc of a nation’s art history.’ Sylvia Yount, the curator in charge of the wing, told Brigit Katz at Smithsonian that US museums, including the Met, are ‘really behind the curve…when it comes to displaying indigenous artworks within the framework of America’s art history.'”

NPR’s “Where ‘Human Zoos’ Once Stood, A Belgium Museum Now Faces Its Colonial Past” looks at the history of The Royal Museum for Central Africa, where Belgian King Leopold once imprisoned more than 200 Congolese to be on display for Belgian crowds. The museum, and Belgium generally, has long resisted acknowledging its violent and colonial heritage, but is currently under the auspices of a Belgium director who is attempting to rectify some wrongs.

“‘They brought me here just to reform it,’ Gryseels says. ‘Obviously, our colonial past is something that we have to deal with.’ The museum finally closed for massive renovations in 2013, after years of planning. ‘We walk a tightrope,’ Gryseels says, between those who fear this transformation won’t go far enough and others who fear it will go too far.”

In “Decolonizing the Museum Mind”, a guest post for the American Alliance of Museums’ Center for the Future of Museums blog, Frank Howarth, former director of the Australian Museum  discusses the value of “welcome to country” practices that center traditional aboriginal owners of land and encourages European and US museums to embrace the idea and the values centered.

“A bit later I went to the then Getty Museum Leadership Program in 2010, with my New Zealand and Australian colleagues expecting to be welcomed to the Native American country on which the Getty Museum is situated (a comparable program in Australia or New Zealand would have a significant and very meaningful welcome to country by the traditional owners). We were surprised and disappointed that not only was there no acknowledgement of Native American place, there was negligible mention of anything Native American within the whole course. Nor was there any discussion around contemporary issues in museums and collections of the materials of first peoples.”

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Hello readers! Here’s the Weekly Jobs Roundup for the week of October 7th.

Northeast

Forum Education Associate [Museum of Science / Boston, MA]

Evaluation Manager [Children’s Museum / Boston, MA]

Researcher [New England Historic Genealogical Society / Boston, MA]

Mid-Atlantic

Senior Research Associate [New Jersey Historical Commission / Trenton, NJ]

Executive Director [Oysterponds Historical Society / Orient, NY]

Registrar/Collections Manager [Biggs Museum of American Art / Dover, DE]

Senior Manager for Public Services [Center for Jewish History / New York, NY]

Manager of Adult Public Programs [Philadelphia Museum of Art / Philadelphia, PA]

Southeast

Director of Museum Affairs [Drayton Hall Preservation Trust / Charleston, SC]

Content Coordinator [American Alliance of Museums / Arlington, VA]

Guide Program Manager [Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art / Bentonville, AR]

Grants Coordinator [Georgia Museum of Art / Athens, GA]

Midwest

Executive Director [National Music Museum / Vermillion, SD]

Manager of Community Engagement [Haggerty Museum of Art / Milwaukee, WI]

Regional Coordinator, Site Support Services [Ohio History Connection / Columbus, OH]

Assistant Director of Communications and Audience Development [Chicago, IL]

West

Curator [Yellowstone Art Museum / Billings, MT]

Associate Curator of Education [Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design / Honolulu, HI]

Senior Curator [Aspen Art Museum / Aspen, CO]

Curator of Education [Idaho State Historical Society / Boise, ID]

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Happy October! Here’s the jobs roundup for the week of October 1st:

Northeast

Native History Educators  and other positions [Plimoth Plantation- Plymouth, MA]

Assistant Museum Preparator [Currier Museum of Art- Manchester, NH]

Director of Collections and Exhibitions [The Olana Partnership- Hudson, NY]

Visitor Services Manager [National September 11 Memorial and Museum- NY, NY]

Teaching Artist and Museum Educator [Queens Museum- NY, NY]

Museum Specialist [Roger Williams Park Museum- Providence, RI]

Mid-Atlantic

Director of Inclusion [AAM- Arlington, VA]

Registrar [Biggs Museum of American Art- Dover, DE]

 

Southeast

Public and Digital History Asst. Professor [Clemson University- Clemson, SC]

Exhibit Manager [Morehead Planetarium and Science Center- Chapel Hill, NC]

 

Midwest

Public Scholar of Museums and Learning [Indiana University- Indianapolis, IN]

Guide Program Manager [Crystal Bridges- Bentonville, AR]

 

West

Museum Registrar [The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture- Santa Fe, NM]

Curator of Education [Idaho State Historical Society- Boise, ID]

Assistant Registrar [Santa Barbara Museum of Art- Santa Barbara, CA]

Exhibits Preparator [Natural History Museum of Utah- Salt Lake City, UT]

Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art [The San Diego Museum of Art- San Diego, CA]

Historic Site Specialist [Heart Mountain Interpretive Center- Powell, WY]

NAGPRA Assistant [Autry Museum of the American West- Los Angeles, CA]

 

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