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Panel 24: Museums and Pacific environments


Hilke Thode-Arora, Michaela Appel

Session presentation

Museums are places where material aspects of Pacific environments have been assembled for the purpose of documentation and preservation, mostly in the form of artefact and photo collections. Always spaces of an entangled past and present; Western museums often reflect interethnic and colonial relations of the past, whereas Pacific museums sometimes have to find an appropriate place among the multiple voices of the local social fabric.
It is against these backgrounds that collections play an important role for Pacific communities to reconnect with their material heritage, parts of which can only be found in museums nowadays due to historical or climatic reasons. Especially in times of rising environmental hazards and ensuing migration, the role of museums as places of documentation and preservation is gaining new momentum.
Our panel invites papers which contribute in any way to this broad field of museums and Pacific environments, for example of:
•Western and Pacific museums’ roles in documenting, preserving and reviving Pacific heritage, thus maintaining cultural continuity,
•artefacts and their contexts in specific Pacific environments: natural and social, past and present.
Papers on the materiality of artefacts or the history of collections are as welcome as papers on Pacific communities engaging with museums or the role of specific artefacts in Pacific environments past and present.

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