Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


In this essay, I examine and problematize the myth of neutrality in America’s art museums by examining the colonialist, patriarchal, and capitalist foundations of museums in American culture, framing contemporary examples of museum neutrality—or the social and political detachment of many museums from the communities and issues they claim to speak to—within these historical contexts. Referring to the works of museum educators, scholars, and activists, this essay seeks to build on the existing commentary about the positionality and purpose of museums in their communities, using protest as a means of analyzing institutional capacity for change. Drawing on a number of contemporary examples, including the ongoing Strike MoMA efforts, I engage an open-ended discussion of how museums might reimagine themselves as institutions unbound from the colonial, patriarchal and capitalist values on which so many were founded.

Author Biography

Anna Turner (she/her), originally from Windham, Connecticut, is a graduating senior American Studies major, Geography minor and Urban Studies concentrator at Macalester College. Anna hopes to build on her work in the American Studies capstone by working in a museum or community arts organization after graduation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.