According to society, things will magically change when the clock strikes 12. Apparently, Covid-19 and social distancing will disappear. So, I’m channeling my inner Cinderella and watching the clock. Here are the top six museums I plan on visiting beginning on January 1, 2021.
There are many clickable links in this entry to learn more!
1. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
I had a chance to visit Boston on my birthday a few years ago, but since I was born on a holiday (July 4th) everything was closed. I didn’t get a chance to see the Degas or check out some of Archibald Motley's paintings. I am highly excited to experience Allan Crite’s work the next time I visit.
2. The Field Museum, Chicago
I love a great a dinosaur display just like the next person, but it was not the natural history that drove me to The Field Museum. It was the Terra-cotta Warriors exhibit that premiered in 2016. I never got the chance to go check it out. But, it is now a nicely curated online exhibit.
The current exhibit that I can't wait to check out is the display highlighting Carl Cotton. Carl Cotton was the Field Museum’s first African American taxidermist. He was hired in 1947 and worked there until 1971. (Click here for more on Carl Cotton)
3. The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)
Ya know, 2016 was the year of some really great exhibits. In October 2016, OMCA hosted the All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50, in honor of the Black Panther’s 50th anniversary. I really wanted to see that exhibit! I got a chance to meet Bobby Seale, a co-founder of the Black Panther party. He signed my Postcard when I worked at the Smithsonian. Getting that postcard signed was one of the greatest moments of my life! OMCA is currently showing an exhibit that highlights the Black Power Movement, and I can't wait to check it out! There is also a Feminist focused exhibit opening in the Spring. Even though I relate to Womanism’s social theories versus Feminist theories, I believe the exhibit will be thought-provoking.
4. The Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD), California
This museum should be listed first, but I’m merely going in order according to notes and memory. I am most excited to visit The Museum of African Diaspora because of the current digital exhibit, Meet us Quickly: Painting for Justice From Prison. This exhibit showcases some freaking amazing artwork, but more importantly, it reminds society that those incarcerated are still human beings with feelings, thoughts, and amazing talents. Every inmate is not a monster. Quoting Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, “targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control.”
Knowing that People of Color account for 60 percent of those incarcerated makes this exhibit a must see. I do hope it will occupy a physical space in the museum one day!
5. The Louvre, Paris
6. The Cheese Museum, Amsterdam
One day I will get over the fact that I should have been in Europe for my birthday this year. It was going to be an epic trip. I planned on visiting the Louvre with a very critical eye. Of course, I would have been on a huge high of being in the city of love, so my critical eye may not have been as sharp, but the thoughts of the “great” Hegel would have fueled my need to critique. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was a philosopher who divided Africa into three parts (a) Africa Proper, also known as the part of Africa that lacks history and culture; (b) European Africa, the part of Africa that has European Influence; (c) Egypt, the territory that is connected to Asia. Basically, the man believed Africa does not have any history or culture, and the culture that it does have was influenced by the outside world. (I’m rolling my eyes too.)
With this knowledge, I was eager to learn the Louvre's layout. I have so many questions; I wonder how are the panels interpreted? Do they give full credit to African artistry, or do they mention that the art was influenced by other parts of the world? If the "influenced by" tactic was equally applied, then it wouldn’t be a problem. But artistic pieces that are/were inspired by African culture fail to be recognized in the panels. I also wonder if the Egyptian exhibit is separate from the African gallery, which would support Hegel’s Eurocentric mindset that great craftsmanship could not have originated from Africa with only African influence. I know that I can get some of the answers by downloading a map pdf, but where is the fun in that? As I write this blog, I believe my museum critique tactic may be a subconscious method to calm the anger and frustration of distorted history...
Alright, rant over, onto The Cheese Museum. This museum makes it to the list because, I LOVE CHEESE. That’s it. No history, no dismantling systematic oppression. I just love cheese, and I wanted to sit on the swing that is molded like a block of cheese. Damn it! January 1, 2021 needs to hurry Up!