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The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations

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9780803211117: The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations
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The first American national museum designed and run by indigenous peoples, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC opened in 2004. It represents both the United States as a singular nation and the myriad indigenous nations within its borders. Constructed with materials closely connected to Native communities across the continent, the museum contains more than 800,000 objects and three permanent galleries and routinely holds workshops and seminar series. This first comprehensive look at the National Museum of the American Indian encompasses a variety of perspectives, including those of Natives and non-Natives, museum employees, and outside scholars across disciplines such as cultural studies and criticism, art history, history, museum studies, anthropology, ethnic studies, and Native American studies. The contributors engage in critical dialogue about key aspects of the museum's origin, exhibits, significance, and the relationship between Native Americans and other related museums.

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"Certain to become a standard text in museum studies classes and programs. That the essays are well written and compelling, passionate and yet solidly scholarly, makes this volume suitable not just for the scholar in museum studies, anthropology, or Native culture but, remarkably, an exciting read even for the general reader. Reading through these pages would instruct anyone planning to make a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian but it will, without question, be of great value to anyone interested in observing or communicating the past to the general public." --Roger Welsch "Nebraska History" (06/10/2009)

"Many of the essays gathered by the editors are written by academics with an indigenous background. They reflect contrasting views...the tone is generally sympathetic, if troubled." --Javier Pes, Museum Practice, June 2009

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