If you want to talk about decolonizing museums and other knowledge institutions in this world then you need to speak with those who preserve, produce, and pass on culture. In the fascinating and complex case of the Maasai and their engagement with museums in the UK, it is women who play an essential role in knowing about what an artifact is, how it is made, and why it is important. Despite this fact, in this growing global conversation, the voices we more often hear are male.
Almost three years ago Samwel Nangiria paid a visit the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. While there he was presented with objects gathered from his culture around 100 years ago. To his shock the collection included items that would normally never have made it into a museum or out of the hands of specific members of the Maasai community. He would eventually express his feelings to the museum, and what follows has become a fascinating and at times emotional engagement to de-colonize museums and empower the Maasai to tell their own story of who they are as a living culture today.
Today on the podcast we explain the process from the unlikely way it began to the interesting ways it has evolved. With help from Nick Lunch – Director of Insight Share, Dr/ Laura from Broekhoven – director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, and Samwel Nangiria of the Pan-African Living Cultures Alliance.