You Are Here The nmai as Site of Identification mario a. caro The nationalist function of museums has been the topic of much scholarly attention.1 The collection of museums at the heart of Washington dc serves as a prime example of how these institutions demand that visitors identify along national affiliations. Whether as a foreign or a domestic visitor, the address of these museums often highlights this aspect of our identity.2 This address, however, does not necessarily begin at the entrance; it begins with the ways in which museums present themselves through their publicity. Similarly, our response to that address includes not only our interaction with exhibits within the museum but also includes our pilgrimage there. Where we come from determines what and whom we find there. In the case of visiting the National Museum of the American Indian (nmai), it is a trip that makes one extremely aware of the relationships among the Native cultural products on display, the site of the museum, and one's concept of home. Whether the process is one that reaffirms one's identity as Indigenous or one that stresses the ways in which we identify others as Native, traveling to the museum makes
The American Indian Quarterly – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 9, 2006
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