At 500 Capp Street, we preserve all facets of David Ireland’s legacy, even the problematic aspects of his past. We acknowledge that the objects displayed in Ireland’s dining room, including the taxidermied animals and cultural artifacts acquired during his time as a safari guide in East Africa, tie him to extractive colonial histories and practices rooted in imperial fascination and exploitation. We also acknowledge how the objects have made the space uncomfortable for the museum’s staff, visitors, and collaborating artists.
Under our current leadership, we choose to address these issues head on rather than gloss over or hide this layer of Ireland’s life from public view. Through meaningful programming we will explore how these troublesome histories still resonate in our lives today. In collaboration with our team, researchers, and scholars, we will be hosting a series of programming that asks: how does colonization and the exploitation of people and resources shape the trail of object collection? And, what steps can we take to actively decolonize the root of exhibition-making within a museum context? We look forward to your continued support as we begin sharing this important work-in-progress with you over the coming year.
Photo by Henrik Kam