“Whose Voice” museum exhibit


Courtesy Photo

“Whose Voice” exhibit will be available to see at the Rod Library starting Monday, Oct. 11 from 4-6 p.m.


Museums have been used as a source of information, a childhood field trip, and sometimes as a date night. But how often do the visitors stop and think about how the artifacts were obtained? The colonial past of museums cannot be denied. In the early years, items were stolen and confiscated from various groups of people around the world, taken as the thieves’ own, and are now put on display as historical pieces. Do these current museums have the right to display these artifacts, tell their story, and the unique story of the people they once stole from? 

The varying perspectives may alter the truth about the colonies that were robbed. Coming Monday, October 11, UNI Museum will be opening its new exhibit titled “Whose Voice?” The purpose of the exhibit is to ask visitors to question who has the authority to tell the stories of these Indigenous cultures, as well as how these stories are presented to the public. It’s a thought-provoking question. Do museums have the right to present and share the artifacts and stories of these communities? It has been several hundred years, for some, thousands of years, since the thievery, does it matter now? Take some time to ponder that question. 

There are a few ways to conclude about this. Perhaps the thought is, “No, museums don’t have the authority. These are stolen artifacts and the true owners should hold them and choose if and when to share their stories.” 

Possibly, ”Yes, museums do have the authority. Their job is to inform the public about historical artifacts and events. Because of that, they have every right to display these items.” 

Or, “This doesn’t pertain to me nor my life, therefore I have no opinion.” 

These varying positions will make for an interesting discussion. To better understand and get some insight, head over to the UNI Museum in the lowest level of Rod Library on Monday, October 11 from 4:00 to 6:00 with remarks being given at 4:15. Bring a buddy and an open mind to explore the eye-opening “Whose Voice?” exhibit.