WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn17 )

Unveiling Legitimacy: Museums and Collections as Pillars of Knowledge Repositories

Organizers

    Banita Behera

    India

    Anthropological Survey of India

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Prof. M.R. Gangadhar

    India

    Chamarajanagara University

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Darko Babic

    Croatia

    University of Zagreb, Croatia

    Online - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Anthropology, Public Policy and Development Practice

Keywords:

Museum, collections , legitimacy, knowledge, community, artefacts, virtuality, Democratising.

Abstract:

The present panel aims to elucidate many characteristics of museums and collections' legitimacy as essential knowledge repositories. Museums, by their very nature, bear the tremendous burden of preserving and transmitting cultural, historical, scientific, and artistic knowledge. This panel will investigate the complex web of circumstances that contribute to and threaten the legitimacy of these institutions. The discussion will begin by diving into the historical evolution of museums, from their origins as cabinets of curiosities to their contemporary status as active educational institutions. By examining the evolution of museums over time, we hope to uncover the underpinnings that underpin their legitimacy as stewards of knowledge. The panel's main focus will be on the ethical issues surrounding the acquisition and presentation of artefacts. Attendees will get insight into the continuing discussions in the museum community about restitution, repatriation, and ethical sourcing. The impact of these talks on museums' perceived legitimacy will be investigated, as well as various ways for addressing these ethical issues. Furthermore, the panel will look at museums' role in promoting inclusivity and showcasing varied viewpoints. We will look into efforts that seek to break free from colonial legacies, ensuring that museums are more than just repository of knowledge, but also forums for dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation. In terms of technology and digitalization, the panel will address how museums may leverage the digital world to boost their validity. From virtual exhibitions to online educational tools, the session will assess the role of technology in democratising access to knowledge and broadening museums' reach beyond physical limits. Finally, the panel will discuss the public's changing expectations and museums' role in reacting to current difficulties. Attendees will be encouraged to engage in a discussion regarding museums' future trajectory, anticipating how these institutions might maintain their place as key contributors to the global knowledge landscape. In conclusion, this panel seeks to provide a thorough examination of the validity of museums and collections as knowledge reservoirs, allowing participants to critically examine these institutions' past, present, and future. Through strong conversations and interdisciplinary viewpoints, we seek to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the intricate fabric that characterises museums' legitimacy in the twenty-first century.