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Following a process lasting more than 15 years, during which all its permanent departments were reorganized, the Tropics Museum has decided to hold a symposium to present the results and to ask the public what the role of an ethnographic museum should actually encompass. With roots stemming back to the colonial era, a museum of this type has seen its objectives and purpose change radically over the years. Today's museums must reconsider their role in society: What purpose do museums of cultural anthropology serve? What does the visiting public want to see and what should museums offer them? What should museums be collecting and how should collections be presented so that everyone that considers the heritage as their own can also make use of it?
During the first day of the symposium, which took place in December 2008, the former head of Museum Affairs, Prof. S. Legene, gave the participants greater insight into these issues. Those attending were also able to visit the museum and listen to three international experts hold a robust discussion focused on the now-completed reorganization. The second day of the symposium was devoted to future-oriented issues. Both famous and notorious professionals from around the world were invited to join the discussion. This bulletin reports on both days and serves as an excellent guide to museums that are redefining their role in society.
About the Author
Daan van Dartel is a museum anthropologist specializing in historical collection research and the more general museum anthropological issues related to the public performance of museums.
Table of Contents
IntroductionPaul Faber and Daan van Dartel
Refurbishment: The Tropenmuseum for a ChangeSusan Legêne
· Process and Product
· Past Exhibition Practices
· Who Speak for Whom?
· Regions and Themes
2) Revisiting the TropenmuseumRhina Colunge
· Fifteen Years of Change
· Lack of Continuity and Some Chaos in the Display
· Dichotomies: Them and Us; Past and Present; Art and Artifact
· Dialogue and the Joy of Making Connections
3) The Symposium: Statements and Discussions
A) Museum Discourse: Museum PolicyPaul Faber
B) Social Discourse: Interaction Between Museum and SocietyAlex van Stipriaan
C) Collection Discourse: Contemporary CollectingMirjam Shatahawi
D) Presentation Discourse: Public and PresentationPaul Voogt
4) Towards the Change: Summary of ThoughtsDaan van Dartel
· Role and Function
· Addressing the Contemporary
List of Participants
About the Authors