Friday, November 9, 2018

Decolonizing Collections: A Hands-On Workshop
Kanaʻina Building, ʻIolani Palace

12:30pm – 4:30pm

Ben Garcia
Deputy Director, San Diego Museum of Man
Kelly Hyberger
Director of Cultural Resources, San Diego Museum of Man

Centuries of exploration, imperialism, and colonialism brought hundreds of thousands of cultural heritage objects into museum storage rooms and exhibition display cases.  As storage room racks overflowed, curators and museum professionals seldom questioned their right to hold and steward these cultural objects.

After decades of advocacy by Indigenous communities, museums are finally acknowledging that the pathways and practices that brought these objects into their possession raise important ethical questions. What is the contemporary museum’s role as owner, steward, or interpreter?

As the museum field explores these complex questions, today’s curators, collections managers, and registrars are faced with the challenge of building a new ethical paradigm in our field. This movement to “decolonize” seeks not just to untangle the complex history of museums and colonialism, but to work in partnership with Indigenous communities towards undoing the legacy of colonization.

In this four-hour workshop, participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the principles of decolonization, learn how museums historically served as agents of colonialism, and discover how to implement decolonized practices in cultural resource and collections management units/programs. Guided discussions, case study analysis, and communication exercises will provide participants with tools to inspire decolonized practices in their daily roles as stewards of culture heritage objects.

Tentative Agenda
12:30-1:15 Overview of decolonization initiatives at SDMoM (presentation and discussion)
1:15-2:15 Cultural resource case studies (small group activities; large group discussion)
2:15-2:30 Break
2:30-3:45 Deep dive: SDMoM Human Remains and Colonial Pathways policies (presentation and small group activities)
3:45-4:30 Practical tips/procedures/takeaways

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Seeding Authority Symposium
Art Auditorium, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Registration & light refreshments

9:00 – 9:15am

Welcome by Noelle Kahanu

American Alliance of Museum Update

Kippen De Alba Chu
Executive Director, ʻIolani Palace
Board Chair, American Alliance of Museums

9:15 – 10:30am

Keynote lecture: “Re-Imagining Museums: Decolonizing Practice and Addressing Colonial Legacies”

Amy Lonetree, PhD
Associate Professor, University of California – Santa Cruz

10:45am – 12:15pm

Panel 1: “Decolonizing Practices at the San Diego Museum of Man”

Ben Garcia
Deputy Director, San Diego Museum of Man
Kelly Hyberger
Director of Cultural Resources, San Diego Museum of Man

Undoing the legacy of colonialism in museums is complicated but essential work. “Decolonizing” challenges a fundamental assumption: that museums are neutral and beneficent stewards of biological and cultural materials. The San Diego Museum of Man is moving toward an institutional position of decolonization, and grappling with the implications across its functions. Join the Deputy Director and Director of Cultural Resources from the Museum of Man for a presentation and discussion of this initiative and its impact.

12:15 – 1:00pm

 Lunch (provided by the UHM Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program)

1:00 – 2:30pm

Panel 2: “Decolonizing Efforts in Hawaiʻi Museums”

Karen Kosasa (Moderator)
Director, Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program, UH Mānoa
Associate Professor, American Studies, UH – Mānoa

Museum decolonization is a global effort. As Indigenous peoples and their allies challenge museums around the world to confront their colonial histories and change their institutional practices of care, representation and collaboration, how has museum decolonization occurred in Hawaiʻi?


ʻIolani Palace
“Restructuring Authority”
Teresa Valencia
Director of Education and Curation
Ihilani Gutierrez
Education Coordinator
King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center
“A New Interpretive Plan”
Matt Mattice
Executive Director
Keahe Davis
Education Specialist
Bishop Museum
“Developing a Knowledge Core”
Leah Pualahaʻole Caldeira
Archives Collection Manager, Library and Archives
Kamalu du Preez
Assistant Collection Manager, Department of Ethnology

2:45 – 4:00pm

Panel 3: “Shifting Paradigms”

Noelle Kahanu (Moderator)
Faculty, Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program, UH Mānoa
Assistant Specialist, Public Humanities & Native Hawaiian Programs, Department of American Studies, UH Mānoa


Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission
Mike Nāhoʻopiʻi
Executive Director, Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission
International Repatriation Efforts 
Halealoha Ayau
Repatriation Advocate
Mana Moana Partnerships
Kamanaʻopono Crabbe
Ka Pouhana, Office of Hawaiian Affairs


Wrap up & next steps by Karen Kosasa and Noelle Kahanu

4:15 – 5:30pm

Sponsored by UH Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program