What is a Museum? An Exploration in Six Parts
Tuesday January 19, 2021
12pm EST

Presentation Reference Guide

ICOM-US Members can view the recording here. 

The defining essential unity in museums are the functions of collecting, preserving, documenting, researching, exhibiting and in other ways, communicating and interpreting evidence of human culture and history for the benefit of everyone. Should our collections shift as our communities do? In a world aimed towards political correctness, how do we address collections as a result of power and colonization? The elephant in the room … deaccession!

Danielle Kuijten, Co‐Curator/Acting Director, Imagine IC and Chair of ICOM International Committee COMCOL (Netherlands)
Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum of Art  (U.S.)
Tukufu Zuberi, Lead Curator, Africa Galleries, Penn Museum (U.S.)

Kathy Dwyer Southern, Professor, Museum Studies Program, George Washington University, ICOM-US Board Member and Immd. Past Co-Chair
William Eiland, Director, Georgia Museum of Art, ICOM-US Board Member and Treasurer


Danielle Kuijten
Danielle Kuijten holds a Master of Museology from the Reinwardt Academy / Amsterdam University of the Arts. She is acting director and co-curator at Imagine IC, a pioneer in the field of contemporary heritage practices. Recent projects she produced here were on topics of resistance, gender and slavery. At Imagine IC she also heads the co-collection lab. This lab researches a variety of  collecting/collection questions like how to work with shared authority, democratizing heritage practices. As a freelancer she is active in the heritage field under the name Heritage Concepting. Her main focus in projects is on participatory collecting methods, contemporary collecting, action curating and reflective practice. Danielle has been an active member of COMCOL ICOM’s international committee for collecting, and since 2019 in the role of chair.

Anne Pasternak
Since 2015, Anne Pasternak has served as the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest fine arts institutions in the nation. For more than thirty years, Anne has devoted her career to engaging broad audiences with the limitless power of art to move, motivate, and inspire. As a staunch advocate for the civic and democratic roles our cultural and educational institutions can play, she is committed to projects that demonstrate the crucial links between art and social justice.

During her time at the Brooklyn Museum, Anne has focused on strengthening the Museum as a center for the visual arts that is courageous, pioneering, and global. Through her leadership, Anne has expanded exhibitions, educational and public programs, and fostered special exhibitions, including The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, David Bowie is, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, and Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. These initiatives are building the foundations for the Brooklyn Museum’s new Strategic Plan, to further the Museum’s mission to create inspiring encounters with art and engage the audiences the issues of today.

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum, Anne served as the President and Artistic Director of Creative Time for two decades, where she initiated projects that gave artists opportunities to respond to political and environmental challenges, while also expanding their practice and work globally. She collaborated with hundreds of artists, including Nick Cave, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, and Kara Walker, commissioning and presenting works that ranged from sculptural installations in Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall to skywriting over Manhattan, as well as Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated the sky above the former World Trade Center site, and continue to be presented on the anniversaries of 9/11.

Tukufu Zuberi
Dr. Tukufu Zuberi is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the Lead Curator of the Africa Galleries at the Penn Museum.  Dr. Zuberi’s vision is dedicated to education.

Dr. Zuberi is the curator of several exhibitions.  He curated Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware at the Independence Seaport Museum (Premiered in May 2013).  Using four key moments in Philadelphia's history representing the themes of Enslavement, Emancipation, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, Tides of Freedom urges visitors both to bear witness to a story central to Philadelphia and American history, and to think about the meaning of "freedom" both historically and in today's world.  His exhibition, Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Posterpremiered at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in June 2013.  The Black Bodies in Propaganda exhibit was also presented at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, Washington (2016), and at the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma (2017).  Professor Zuberi is curating the redesign of the Penn Museum Africa Gallery (opening in 2019). Professor Zuberi curated the redesign of the Penn Museum Africa Gallery AFRICA GALLERIES from Maker to Museum (2019). He directed nine interstitials as part of the AFRICA GALLERIES from Maker to Museum at the Penn Museum.

From 2003 to 2014, Dr. Zuberi was a host of the hit Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series History Detectives. The History Detectives regularly presented the social history of American culture to the public. In 2014, Dr. Zuberi returned as host and co-producer of the summer PBS series History Detectives: Special Investigations.  He is the writer and producer of African Independence, a feature-length documentary film that highlights the birth, realization, and problems confronted by the movement to win independence in Africa.  African Independence was selected and featured at over a dozen film festivals, and was the recipient of various awards.  Completed in 2020, his feature-length documentary on memory and pre-colonialism in Africa is entitled Before Things Fell Apart.  His most recent short documentary on African material culture in museums is entitled Decolonizing the Narrative: Africa Galleries from Maker to Museum (2020). The first in a series of 3 short documentaries, Decolonizing the Narrative, is a 30-minute exploration of the debates about Museums, Reparations; Restitution; and Race. 

Dr. Zuberi is the author of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: The Mortality Cost of Colonizing Liberia in the Nineteenth-Century, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1995; Thicker than Blood: How Racial Statistics Lie, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2001; Más espeso que la sangre: la mentira del análisis estadístico según teorías biológicas de la raza, published by Universidad Nacional de Colombia, in Bogotá in 2013; and Africa Independence: How Africa Shapes the World, published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers in 2015. He has written more than 70 scholarly articles, and edited or co-edited eight volumes.  These edited volumes include White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology (with Eduardo Bonilla-Silva) that was awarded the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award by the American Sociological Association.  He completed a manuscript on African Words and Memory (forthcoming). He is competing an edited volume on the Decolonizing the Narrative of the Penn Museum Africa Galleries.

Born Antonio McDaniel to Willie and Annie McDaniel, and raised in the housing projects of “Tassafaronga” in Oakland, California, he later embraced the name Tukufu Zuberi - Swahili for "beyond praise" and "strength." He took the name because of a desire to make and have a connection with an important period in which social movements in the United States and other nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were challenging what it means to be a human being.