Public programs facilitate dialogue between academics and professionals, informing scholarship and strengthening practice.

Multiple day conferences, year-long colloquia, individual lectures, “conversations” between individuals, hands-on workshops, and Museums at Noon talks featuring our graduate students all contribute to the remarkable richness of MSP offerings.

Video recordings of some MSP lectures are archived for viewing in our Media Gallery.

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Collecting Oceania

March 13, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This event needed to be cancelled to to COVID-19 precautions.

Title:  Collecting Oceania

Date:  Friday, March 13

Time:  12:00 pm

Location:  UM Museum of Art, Multi-Purpose Room (125)

Presenter:  Emily Cornish (PhD candidate, History of Art)

Traveling along numerous intellectual, social, political and cultural currents, objects from the Pacific Islands have been circulating in United States’ museum collections since the nineteenth century, especially in universal art museums.  Using a mid-Atlantic U.S. institution as a case study, this talk explores Pacific Islands holdings and collection histories. Close engagement with museum object files, digital catalogue, and the objects themselves reveals a complex collecting history that encompasses the twentieth century obsession with the so-called “primitive arts,” U.S. involvement in WWII, and contemporary ethical dilemmas regarding the repatriation of human remains and sacred objects. By tracking aspects like objects’ display histories, language of classification, and more, the bounded nature and value of this collection in relation to the museum’s current priorities, initiative, and constraints comes to the fore, ultimately prompting consideration of the museum’s responsibility today to such objects and their source communities.



March 13, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


University of Michigan Museum of Art, First Floor, Multi-Purpose Room
525 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 United States
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