Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice

Pausing to Decolonize: Decolonizing Museum Policy and Practice

December 2021

On November 3rd, the Royal BC Museum announced that it would begin closing sections of its existing galleries to embark on a process of community consultation to decolonize long-established exhibits, increase cultural safety in the museum, and ensure that the Provincial museum is a welcoming place for everyone.

This announcement has sparked new conversations exploring what it means to decolonize a museum, and whether it is even possible to decolonize an institution that was born from the very process of colonization itself. 

To help contribute to this dialogue the BC Museums Association is sharing the opening address from our 2021 virtual conference as an episode of our podcast. 

On October 7th we were joined by Brandie MacDonald from the Museum of Us for a talk entitled, Pausing to Decolonize: Decolonizing Museum Policy and Practice. Brandie is the Senior Director of Decolonizing Initiatives at Museum of Us, residing on the homeland of Kumeyaay Nation in San Diego, California, USA.

Brandie’s work focuses on systemic change within museums through the implementation of anti-colonial and decolonial theory-in-practice, which centers truth-telling, accountability, and tangible change to redress colonial harm. Her 12 years working in non-profits is based around capacity building through transformative policy, repatriation, and education.

In her talk, Brandie discusses the work that Museum of Us has been doing to transform their organization, the decolonial work that she is leading, and the guiding principles they have adopted.

Thank you to the Cultural Resource Management program at the University of Victoria for sponsoring this conference opening address.