Methodology for a Creole Museum, For a Postcolonial Museum of the Living Present

January 1st, 2008 | RESEARCH

In 2010, a museum and cultural center, Maison des civilisations et de l'unité réunionnaise, will open on Reunion island, Indian Ocean, in a park of 22 hectares overlooking the ocean. Reunion is a small island, uninhabited when it was colonized by the French in the 17th century, whose society has gone through two centuries of slavery, a century of colonialism and barely sixty years of postcolonial democracy. Colonialism erased the material traces of the lives of slaves, indentured workers and poor settlers who, despite the brutality of colonial order, created a rich, complex, and very diverse immaterial culture marked by the processus of creolization. In the the scientific and cultural programme (2005), Françoise Vergès and Carpanin Marimoutou revisited the status of the object, suggested a "museum without a collection" and a reinterpretation of the past from the issues and demands of the present. They argued for a space that would not divide nature and culture but would reintegrate, through the inclusion of gardens in the museum, the role and function of landscape, its history and mutations as actors of the imaginary. They started with these principles : the colonial past is revisited to elucidate current problems; the visitor is invited to empathize with the infinitesimal personal experience, to apprehend larger historical forces and to suggest alternatives for development. They argued the island is set at the crossroads of six worlds: African, Chinese, European, Hindu, Malagasy and Muslim, in an ocean where millenary routes of exchanges have constructed numerous contact-zones.


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Team Members

Francoise Verges, Author, Maison des civilizations et de l'unite reunionnaise (MCUR)


Publication: Museums and the Web 2008 Proceedings

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Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: History | policy | law | Life science
Resource Type: Conference Proceedings | Reference Materials
Environment Type: Conferences | Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Public Programs