In Dialogue: Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice

Event Date: 
Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Location: 
Online Via Zoom
Event Cost: 

Free. Registration required. 

Heighten your civic awareness through conversations about art, history and material culture. Each month, educators from the National Portrait Gallery will partner with colleagues from across the Smithsonian to discuss how historical objects from their respective collections speak to today’s social justice issues.

This month, our conversation highlights two parallel stories of identity, consent and sovereignty with respect to Native American objects in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of Natural History. We’ll discuss how a portrait of Osage warrior and leader Shonke Mon-thi^ was used to obscure and later uncover an important narrative in U.S. history. The Tlingit killer whale crest hat highlights a story of repatriation (a form of restorative justice) of a sacred object to a tribe or clan. Both objects offer insight into the ways museums have used Indigenous objects to further colonialism as well as the Smithsonian’s recent efforts at cultural restoration. Free—Registration required.