chapter
3 Pages

Introduction

ByJULIA PETROV

The first three chapters in this final part of the volume deal with museums and the construction of social identity through the material objects on display. Through an analysis of a visitor’s complaint about the attribution of kente cloth in the collection of Leicester’s New Walk Museum, Malika Kraamer considers the ways in which a Ghanaian art-historical tradition is locally understood, constructed and contested. Kraamer persuasively argues for museums to be aware of the pressures on them to interpret this material ‘correctly’, and contends that behind every simple representation in the museum we can probably find competing claims. The museum may never be able to do justice to all competing interpretations of an object, but it can highlight in more general ways the contestation of the past and the fluidity of meanings, especially in post-Colonial contexts.