The battle over Australia’s museums
The culture wars have long raged across the Australian media and arts landscape, but the battle appears to have been won by progressives inside the nation’s museums.
As the world’s museum directors prepare to make another attempt to come up with the definition of a museum, after years of controversy between conservatives and reformers, the heads of Australia’s museums have chosen their side.
Seb Chan, president of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association, says choosing what to collect, preserve and display is “necessarily political”.
“The challenge is when they are politicised, or their choices are weaponised in culture wars,” he says. “Museums should represent the diversity of their communities and, for many institutions, that also means using the past to open up conversations about what kind of futures their communities might hope for.”