Skip to content

Museum Decolonial Practice

Introduction

This page contains resources that give examples, advice, and ask questions of decolonial practice in museums and galleries in Scotland, UK, and internationally.

Can't see our header image? Click here for a larger version. 

Museum Projects And Exhibitions

A selection of projects in partnership, led, or involving museums in Scotland, UK, and internationally that look at decolonial and anti-racist practice in museums.

Scotland

Legacies of Slavery in Glasgow Museums and Collections is a site that examines objects and documents in Glasgow Museums’ collection that relate to slavery and Glasgow's links with it.

The Empire Museum is a Scottish digital platform for understanding and learning about empire, slavery, colonialism and migration.

Black History Month Scotland Archives co-ordinated by the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) has a range of topics spanning 20 years of Black History Month Scotland. Museums and galleries can get involved in this years programme.

​Facing Our Past is a new project by the National Trust for Scotland to address the legacies of slavery. The project has begun with a review of their buildings and monuments.

Reframed- Conversations about Heritage and Inclusion at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. Events that reframe the College’s heritage collections in new ways to address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. MGS Case study.

Transnational Scotland: Reconnecting Heritage Stories through Museum Object Collections explores the transnational history of Scotland through the objects of its historical global trades in cotton, jute, sugar, and herring.

UK/ International

Black British Museum Project is a project creating Britain's first museum celebrating Black British history, art and culture.

Black Cultural Archives Digital Showcase Space has a range of digital storytelling projects exploring topics such as Windrush, Black British marketing and design, and the Brixton defence campaign.

The Race and Ethnicity Hub is free learning from the Open University. It offers fresh perspectives on race, racism and ethnicity through free courses, articles, interactives and audio/visual materials.

The SSAP Youth Leadership Network work with Amgueddfa Cymru as part of the Hands on Heritage initiative. In 2020 they hosted a discussion on the issue of statues and paintings that relate to British colonial history, particularly those of Thomas Picton in Wales. The discussion included practical ways to move forward and is documented on Amgueddfa Cymru's website.​

In 'Displays of Power: A Natural History of Empire' The Grant Museum explores how its collection foregrounds the legacy of empire.

Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the

Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery

​Afro Historyscapes are ​podcasts from the Horniman Museum and Gardens that share the research of their curators, project team and Community Action Researchers to give a fresh perspective on African history.

Slavery: Ten true stories is an exhibition by the Rijks Museum that takes the form of personal and real-life stories rather than abstract concepts.

Musea Bekennen Kleur is a platform where museums can engage in in-depth discussions about how we can jointly achieve diversity and inclusion.

Guides And Examples

Top 10 tips to start decolonising your practice - Tehmina Goskar, Director, Curatorial Research Centre

Black Lives Matter Charter For the UK heritage sector - Culture& state actions for arts and heritage sectors to make clear their position on Black Lives Matter by committing to make changes in order to decolonise their relationship with the UK Black community and their workforce, collections and programmes.

MGS Knowledge Exchange: Decolonisation Workshop

MGS Knowledge Exchange: Representing the Underrepresented

MGS Knowledge Exchange: Curating Public Unrest

Radical Hope events and webinars at the Pitt Rivers Museum - Led by researchers and global indigenous community partners from around the world who are involved in unpicking colonial practices, the Radical Hope series includes topics such as the display of human remains, returns, equitable interpretation of cultures, inclusive curriculum and representation.

Social Media and Decolonising Scottish Heritage​ was a SHSMG event with Ourchives that​​discussed how social media fits with decolonial practice in museums. The resource gives ten clear actions for museums to take on and offline.

Tackling inequalities case study with Powell-Cotton Museum looks at their programme that is committed to telling a wider story, to enable others to share in that narrative and be a part of it's making.

Imperial War Museum’s free CPD films support teaching the experiences and legacy of the British Empire and conflict for secondary pupils.

Natural Sciences Collections Association online conference, 'Decolonising Natural Science Collections'.

Conversations

A selection of recent discussions, articles, and thinking around decolonial and anti-racist practice in museums.

Curating Discomfort - Zandra Yeaman, Curator of Discomfort at The Hunterian.

Addressing The Legacies Of Empire And Slavery - Miles Greenwood, Curator of legacies of slavery and empire at Glasgow Museums.

​Museums and Black Lives Still Matter - Culture& in collaboration with the Museums Association host a joint UK and US symposium on how museums are responding to racism and what needs to happen next.​​

Video Hub - Video content from the Museums Association exploring decolonial practice in museums. Hear from practitioners, changemakers and advocates of decolonisation in the heritage sector.

Imagining A Museum Of British Colonialism in this video a panel speaks about confronting Britain’s past and its heritage of colonialism and slavery through imagining what a Museum of British Colonialism might look like.

Let's Face It! Museums Need Antiracist Policies - Museum Hue

Culturally Responsive Museums Are Leading the Way - Museum Hue

The Long Shadow Of Colonial Science - Sria Chatterjee​​

Sitting uncomfortably- Christina Riggs, a blog post that talks about the histories of photography and Egyptology and the need for further research, voices, and critique in it.

Necrography: Death-Writing in the Colonial Museum- coordinated by Dan Hicks for the British Art Studies conversation series.

The colonial project of gender: Thinking through museums, creative representation and research imperatives by A/Prof Sandy O'Sullivan for ARCSHS.

‘We need to defend the freedom to research our histories in all their nuance’ Museum Association Q&A with Corinne Fowler discussing being on the front line of a political culture war.

Re-imagining Museums As Portals - yaa addae

Museums and Community Action: Decolonising the Curriculum is a series of recorded webinars hosted by University of St Andrews where international speakers discuss the agency of communities through the forum of the museum.

Should Black People Talk About Scottish History?- Bruce Fummey

​Horrible British Histories: Young people in museums interrogating national identity through principles and practices of critical pedagogy - Sadia Habib

Related guide

Diversifying The Workforce

This page contains resources that look at anti-racist recruitment and training for diversifying the museum and gallery workforce.

Find out more