The Closure of the North American Indian Cultures Hall
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science closed its North American Indian Cultures Hall on Level 2 in June 2023. This decision was made after extensive discussions and input from various stakeholders, including focus groups, community members from diverse backgrounds, members of Indigenous communities, experts in history and anthropology and Museum staff. The Museum recognized that they had failed to adequately showcase the historical and lived experiences of Indigenous people within the hall. Many displayed items lacked descriptions of their purpose, usage and creators, undermining their cultural significance. Additionally, the Museum acknowledged that the names given to Indigenous communities by non-native people were often inaccurate.
Following the closure of the hall, Museum staff will begin deinstallation of the displayed belongings, assessing their conservation needs and finding suitable storage solutions. If approved by representatives of tribal nations, some belongings may be returned to their respective communities. The Museum has invited tribal representatives to be involved in this process, which will be led by the collections and conservation teams and may take several years. While the future use of the space is uncertain, the Museum is eager to collaborate with Indigenous partners, explore new ideas and models and ensure that the Indigenous community can speak for themselves in a transparent and inclusive manner. This process will require ongoing conversations between tribal nations and Museum staff to navigate sensitivities and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
We want your feedback. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science invites the public to share their thoughts and feedback by reaching out to the NAIC core team via: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7196730/030bbedf58ae.