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African Art ReframedReflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture$
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Bennetta Jules-Rosette and J. R. Osborn

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043277

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043277.001.0001

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Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Postcolonial Reflections on Colonial Museums

(p.33) Chapter 1 Lost and Found
African Art Reframed

Bennetta Jules-Rosette

J.R. Osborn

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines systems of classification supporting the front stage of museum exhibits. It traces the roots of European museum taxonomies found in colonial expositions and early museums of African art. It discusses the floorplans and displays strategies of French museums and contrasts them with theories proposed by anthropologists and African intellectuals. Museum classifications reflect inherited epistemologies and those of their era. These classifications are translated into labels and strategies for staging displays exhibitions, and expositions, that is, into exhibitionary complexes. The chapter concludes with a discussion of reconfigurations of the museum landscape with contrasting evidential support. It explores French museum closings and their deconstruction in relationship to historical antecedents and problems of labeling and reinstallation.

Keywords:   museum taxonomies, classification, colonial expositions, museum floorplans, exhibitionary complexes, museum closings

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