Community makers, major museums, and the Keet S’aaxw: learning about the role of museums in interpreting cultural objects

Charles Zange, The George Washington University, USA

Published paper: Community makers, major museums, and the Keet S’aaxw: Learning about the role of museums in interpreting cultural objects

Digitized images and their underlying objects are in separate spheres of exchange. The objects underlying these assets are of irreducible material: they are physical things with unique meaning to their diverse source communities. With more cultural objects coming online, how are community voices being mediated through the museum space and to the visiting public?

Building from anthropology research on the Tlingit Killer Whale Crest Hat, this paper looks at the placement of digital assets within a sphere of exchange between object creators and end users. The goal of this paper is two-fold: first, to take a closer look at a few examples of how museums work with community makers; and second, to begin a discussion that critically evaluates the future of community-driven digital projects.

This paper will build on previous anthropological research for a course at the George Washington University in Fall 2013.

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