The Museums Association has launched new guidance for museums to address the legacy and presentation of Britain’s colonial history.
The ‘Supporting Decolonisation in Museums’ guidance, for locations of all sizes, is intended to help museum professionals with decolonising practices.
The guidance defines decolonisation as “creatively reimagining the way museums work, who they work with and what they value.”
The guidance is hoped to “rebalance power and representation away from the coloniser narrative of history and society.”
Sharon Heal, Director of the Museums Association explained that the guidance comes “[a]t a time when this history is under more scrutiny than ever,” and added “it is vital that museums engage in these discussions and reappraise their own historical role in empire.”
The guidance (which can be read here) has been produced by the Museum Association’s Decolonisation Guidance Working Group, which includes members from the Natural History Museum, Arts Council England, and the V&A.
The ‘Supporting Decolonisation in Museums’ guidance is broken down into 10 sections, which encourage accountability, creativity, and meaningful collaboration.
Alongside the guidance, the Museum Association said it will next year launch a ‘Decolonisation Confidence and Skills’ programme funded by Art Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
The programme is hoped to help museums to implement decolonising practice in their work through the creation of new networks, events and online resources.