Select Page

Guidelines in Action: Chicago’s Field Museum Improves Community Visits

Jun 20, 2019

Monica Rickert-Bolter (Potawatomi/African-American) visits the North American collections at the Field Museum in January 2018 to view Lakota children’s garments and toys in preparation for illustrating a Native-authored children’s book. Photo courtesy the Field Museum.


In 2016 the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research published a new resource known as the Guidelines for Collaboration. Drawing from decades of case studies and three years of focused work with Native and non-Native museum professionals, cultural leaders, and artists, the Guidelines provide a series of methods for how museums and source communities can work together across two-way learning opportunities. Today the Guidelines are used in classrooms, museums, cultural institutions, tribal communities, and elsewhere.

Guidelines in Action is a series of guest posts highlighting stories from the field.


 

Guest post by Jamie Lewis and Jamie Kelly

We acknowledge that collaboration is critical as we continue to work with communities on how to best care for their heritage.

Jamie Kelly, Head of Anthropology Collections; Collections Manager, Field Museum’s Gantz Family Collections Center.

 

Jamie Lewis, Anthropology Collections Manager, Field Museum’s Gantz Family Collections Center.

 


 

The Field Museum has taken strides towards more collaborative approaches to collections management practices, including collections care and access. When the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research introduced the Guidelines for Collaboration, many of us at the Field Museum were excited to see a document like this published and eager to read them. In addition to the feedback we have received from descendant communities, the Guidelines informed how we can improve our hospitality when community members visit collections at the Museum. For example, we now provide community visitors with a 2-page informational packet before they visit collections so they know what to expect during a visit. We also make sure they have space and time to prepare, reflect, or cleanse after they arrive, as these visits can be an overwhelming experience for some. We have also taken steps to reduce some of the bureaucratic obstacles to accessing collections, such as simplifying our Visit Request Form, which is used to record visitors to collections. This form was developed decades ago for visiting academic researchers and was seven pages long with policy statements about object handling and early hazardous pesticide use on collections. A new form is being developed that is considerably shorter and tailored for community visitors.

Field Museum Anthropological Collections visit request form with improved language and new references to community affiliations. 

Many of our relationships with communities have been more consultative in nature. Over time these relationships are deepening and becoming more collaborative, benefiting community members, the collections, and Museum staff. We acknowledge that collaboration is critical as we continue to work with communities on how to best care for their heritage. We strive to improve our approach and practices to engage communities in collaborative care and continue to seek out ways to provide a sustainable commitment of time and resources to build and foster relationships. We commend SAR for spearheading this movement toward improving museum-community relationships.


Learn more about the SAR Guidelines for Collaboration here.


SIGN UP FOR THE SAR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER and stay up to date on our projects and programs.

Follow SAR

Upcoming Events

Jul
17
Wed
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jul 17 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday Summer Tours The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is[...]
Jul
18
Thu
2019
5:30 pm Colloquium: Pablita Velarde Maki... @ School for Advanced Research
Colloquium: Pablita Velarde Maki... @ School for Advanced Research
Jul 18 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Colloquium: Pablita Velarde Making a Living as a Native Artist @ School for Advanced Research | Santa Fe | New Mexico | United States
REGISTER FOR THE TALK IN ADVANCE HERE How a professional Native artist creates a sustainable career is the driving question of Dr. Marilyn Norcini’s economic study of Santa Clara Pueblo artist, Pablita Velarde (1916-2006).  “When[...]
Jul
19
Fri
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jul 19 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is home to works[...]
Jul
23
Tue
2019
6:00 pm Collections of Distinction at th... @ Historic Roque Lobato House
Collections of Distinction at th... @ Historic Roque Lobato House
Jul 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Collections of Distinction at the Historic Roque Lobato House @ Historic Roque Lobato House
COLLECTIONS OF DISTINCTION at the Historic Roque Lobato House Home of Susan and Karl L. Horn Date: Tuesday, July 23, 6:00-8:00PM Admission: $75 per person, includes drinks and hors d’oeuvres $25 per person for President’s Circle members[...]
Jul
24
Wed
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jul 24 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday Summer Tours The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is[...]
Jul
26
Fri
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jul 26 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is home to works[...]
Jul
31
Wed
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Jul 31 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Wednesday Summer Tours The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is[...]
Aug
2
Fri
2019
2:00 pm Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Tours of the Indian Arts Researc... @ Indian Arts Research Center
Aug 2 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) houses an outstanding collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles and clothing, paintings, basketry, and drums. With more than 12,000, items, the IARC is home to works[...]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share this

Share this post with your friends!