The Museum for the People

Opening during the tumultuous sixties as “the museum for the people,” the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) has from time to time been at the center of political tensions that have become characteristic of the city known as “the home of the Black Panther Party.” The Museum for the People traces OMCA’s roots back to its pre-sixties origins, i.e. the period when its surrounding neighborhoods transitioned from predominantly white to increasingly African American. Three cultural institutions that were founded in the early 1900s merged, relocating to the current site during the sixties, and were met by protests before actually opening the doors of what is now OMCA. Delivering the history through the voices of individuals such as L. Thomas Frye, the Oakland Museum of California’s founding curator of History, and providing various current accounts from recent employees and visitor feedback, the author describes an institution that has remained viable by reaching out to “the people” during various critical times throughout its history.

Plantation to Nation: Caribbean Museums and National Identity

Plantation to Nation: Caribbean Museums and National Identity explores the evolution of Caribbean museums from colonial-era institutions that supported imperialistic goals to today's museums that aim to recover submerged or marginalized histories, assert national identities and celebrate cultural diversity. This book is the first to focus on the growth and development of Caribbean museums and museology, to address museums across the region regardless of nation or language, and to allow for much-needed discourse on their evolution. Museologists from across the region and internationally address the challenges faced by museums in the Caribbean, both historically and in the contemporary setting.

Museums in Human Development: The Place of Museums in a Globalised and Transforming World

Museums in Human Development attempts to answer four inter-related questions: What is happening to our world? Why is it happening? How can we think about and understand these first two questions? What are some solutions to the challenges posed by contemporary modernity? Museums in Human Development is a sweeping review of global trends and risks, a summary of approaches to understanding these trends, a study of civil society and those UN systems that incorporate heritage, sustainability, human rights, and distributive and cultural equity. It argues that cultural institutions, in particular museums, can provide the vectors of positive, transformative change for a world in crisis. New museology as a principle and the ecomuseum as a site share much in common with other inter-disciplinary approaches, such as urban planning and health promotion, which are approaches that respond to human necessities and the human condition in fair, consensual, flexible, sustainable, and creative ways. In the future—in a world that is increasingly urban, crowded, conflicted, resource poor, and where cultures, people, and faiths encounter each other as never before—museums can be sites of collective, democratic decision making, where information is sublimated into knowledge, global problems are faced at the local level, and the dehumanised is rehumanised.