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Imagining the Way Forward Through Museum Space: Approaching Working Relationships between Museums and Indigenous Communities


This study addresses the need to further what can be achieved by collaborative projects between mainstream museums and Indigenous communities. Katsina in Hopi Life, an exhibition at the Autry National Center in 2013, is used as a case study to explore how frameworks for collaboration in museum space can be useful when informed by discussion about contemporary Indigenous issues. Interviews provide insight into the story and inter-workings of the creation of the exhibition, highlighting the relationship between frameworks and goals. To achieve Indigenous-derived goals, an exhibition requires a framework to match; however the relationship works in the other direction as well, and a limiting framework inevitably promotes less creative and productive projects. In working collaboratively on projects about Indigenous content, a more fluid approach is explored in the idea of the hybrid framework, promoting the idea that a one-size-fits-all model for collaboration with Indigenous communities is not productive, nor appropriate.

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