Only the Voice of the Other: Science, Power, and Diversity’s Revolt in the Museum—A Manifesto of Sorts

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W. Warner Wood

Abstract

While the importance of including diverse perspectives in museum programming has received considerable attention in the cultural realm, the same cannot be said for environmental science topics. In science and natural history museums, exhibitions on issues such as global climate change and loss of biodiversity are frequently narrowly defined in relation to an equally narrow perception of what constitutes environmental science. Because the facts of science in museums are still largely told by science curators, the voices of non-scientists are largely absent on such issues. As museum professionals, we must work to ensure that a diversity of perspectives is represented on environmental issues in our museums and on the capacity of our publics to participate in the presentation of environmental topics. We must support the public’s collective “power-to” (as John Holloway has termed it) have a voice in environmental programming.

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Commentaries
Author Biography

W. Warner Wood, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee