1st Edition

Museums and Racism

By Kylie Message Copyright 2018
    146 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    146 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Racism is a hot topic in museums today, as well as an urgent social issue. Focused on the broad field of multicultural policy, Museums and Racism examines how the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Australia, has responded to political culture and public debate around racism.

    Analysis focuses on the conceptualization of the Immigration Museum in the mid-1990s, and on the most recent permanent exhibition to be opened there, in 2011, which coincided with the publication of a new multicultural policy for Australia. The opening of the National Museum of Australia in Canberra in the intervening period is also examined in some detail, as a comparative case study to provide a sense of the broader national social and political context. Message argues that each of the three episodes demonstrates the close relationship between museum and exhibition development on the one hand, and policy, politics, and public opinion on the other hand.

    Including a discussion of examples from the United States and other relevant contexts, Museums and Racism is key reading for students and scholars of museum studies and cultural studies around the world. The book should also be of great interest to museum practitioners and policymakers in the area of multiculturalism.

    Introduction: ‘It’s a summer of sequels. The culture wars are back. So is the civil rights movement’
    1. Museums
    2. Multiculturalism
    3. Racism
    Conclusion: ‘I feel like I belong when I am made to feel welcome’


    Kylie Message is Associate Professor and Senior Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. She is the Series Editor of ‘Museums in Focus’.