Post-colonial approaches to knowledge transfer in a natural history museum
The academic examination of colonial heritage in museums has been intensified in Austria in recent years. So far, ethnographic and contemporary history museums have been the focus of national and international discourse. This debate is also essential for natural history collections. Against this background, the scientists of the NHM Vienna, EDUCULT and TrafoK invite 7th grade students of a Viennese AHS to deal with the current implications of colonialism and the colonial heritage of the NHM Vienna. To this end, the students reflect on the exhibition practice of the NHM Vienna and how colonial contexts are conveyed in the collection. Using the temporary Brazil exhibition at the NHM Vienna as an example, they develop their own (multimedia) methods and formats for making colonial provenances tangible.
Building on these reflections, the second part of the project is dedicated to the interactive possibilities of conveying colonial contexts in a natural history exhibition in the museum. Here, the pupils are asked to develop their own mediation possibilities for the Brazil exhibition at Deck 50 – the open innovation and experimentation space of the NHM Vienna. The question that the young people and the scientific project team are asking themselves is what and how can colonial contexts of acquisition be communicated interactively and critically in a natural science museum? To this end, a variety of research and survey steps will be undertaken together with the young Citizen Scientists. The results will then be presented in the form of an exhibition format.