The Exhibitions of the ‘Museum Nasional Indonesia’ and the ‘Tropenmuseum’
Large parts of ethnographic collections housed in museums around the world were assembled in colonial times. The way these collections were brought together was long disregarded by scholars. Studies of museum collections hardly considered the collecting context or a collector’s individual background and motivation. It was only in the 1980s that research on these aspects began. However, does this research trend find an expression in the permanent exhibitions of museums?
To answer this question, Sonja Mohr analyses the exhibitions of the Museum Nasional Indonesia in Jakarta and the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam against the backdrop of colonial history and collecting at the time. Located in the capital cities of Indonesia and the Netherlands, the two museums have diametrically opposed views on their countries’ common history. But do these differing perspectives also mean that they address collecting in colonial times in different ways?