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The Metabolic Museum: New Pathways for Collecting

About the Event


Mar 30–31


Alumnae Lounge / Aidekman Arts Center / 40 Talbot Ave / Medford, MA


Thursday, March 30, 2023, 6–8 pm

Clémentine Deliss, Global Humanities Professor in History of Art, University of Cambridge


Friday, March 31, 9–12 pm

Panelists: Nicole Cherubini, artist / Kelli Morgan, Director of Curatorial Studies at Tufts University / Victoria Reed, Sadler Curator for Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Kajette Solomon, Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI) Program Specialist at the RISD Museum / moderated by Dina Deitsch, TUAG director and co-curator of re:imagining collections

As public calls for responsibility and transparency in museums have increased—specifically around historic collections—audiences are demanding greater acknowledgment of the colonial ideologies at the foundation of some institutions, questioning provenance and modes of acquisition, and urging for the return of cultural artifacts to their home nations. How have institutions, including Tufts University, responded? Join us for a two-day event that explores new pathways of understanding, displaying, researching, and returning historic collections as we consider the ethics and moral implications of housing and collecting works, especially cultural objects of deep ritual significance or those considered colonial plunder.

This two-day panel, presented as an extension of TUAG’s exhibition re:imagining collections, borrows its title from our keynote speaker Clémentine Deliss’s 2020 publication, The Metabolic Museum, in which the former director of Weltkulturen Museum (Frankfurt, Germany) argues for the living and changing nature of collections and new, radical engagements and interventions by artists into ethnographic collections. In this spirit, re:imagining collections follows Deliss’s model by inviting five contemporary artists to rethink and reengage Tufts University’s under-studied antiquities collection from a decisively oblique angle, asking of these works new questions.

The Metabolic Museum: New Pathways for Collecting is supported by the Tufts AS&E Diversity Fund, the Toupin-Bolwell Fund, and Tufts Curatorial Studies program.