Smile Politely

Spurlock Museum is reinterpreting the Gallery of African Cultures

Two white women and a Black women are gathered around a table of artifacts. They are all wearing bright blue rubber gloves.
Spurlock Museum

The Chancellor’s Call to Action to Address Racism and Social Injustice includes a $2 million annual committment to “focus the intellectual and scholarly talent of our university to examine two of the greatest challenges facing our society and seek new solutions.” Spurlock Museum is utilizing a $75,000 grant from the program to reinterpret their Gallery of African Cultures by engaging with the community, and incorporating that input into their redesign.

In launching the Reinterpreting Africa: Centering Diverse and Authentic Cultural Voices in a Museum Gallery project, they are recognizing that “museums are colonial institutions that collected some objects through questionable means and prioritized academic knowledge over traditional knowledge and lived experiences.”

They’ve invited key stakeholders with perspectives on African culture because of their identity, heritage, and/or research to participate in focus group. Now, they are asking anyone in the community (18 and older) to offer their thoughts on the exhibit by visiting the museum, and filling out a short survey. Participants will receive a free poster.

Summer is a wonderful time to visit the museum — it’s quiet and has air conditioning. Find a list of all of the current exhibits, including the Gallery of African Cultures and Nikkeijin Illinois, which we wrote about earlier this year.

Spurlock Museum
600 S Gregory
Tu 12 to 5 p.m.
W-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sa 10 to 4 p.m.
Su 12 to 4 p.m.

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