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Museum of Black Futures: an open letter to the Congregation (2024)

I have a confession to make. Shortly after the recording of the very first Museum of Black Futures podcast I was contacted by the Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, a.k.a. The 'Spiritijnen'.

While spreading their 'good news to the poor' the Congregation collected thousands of religious objects from the African people they converted. It's a complex history, but long story short: this collection forms the basis for the Africa Museum that she founded in Berg en Dal in 1954. The fathers are still the owners of the collection and the building, to this day.

Conflict with the organization that managed the collection for them led to the closure of the Africa Museum. See their 'press release' here

Since our first Museum of Black Futures meeting, they invited Roche Nieuwendam and me to participate in their 'future Africa Museum' working group. We have indicated that we are only interested in a conversation if we (the Museum of Black Futures team) are given full authority to shape the future of their collection, organization and building.

On Saturday March 9th we invited them 'a seat at our table' to listen to our list of demands:

  • That we shape a structure in which we can organize research projects and program lines (in a broad sense) from 2025 to 2028 with artists, researchers and the community.

  • Make their archives, data and collection open source accessible.

  • And build a Black-owned Africa collection in the diaspora: a new museum foundation, a museum staff and an arts plan. We don't have to be in charge ourselves at that point, by the way.

The podcast registration of our meeting will soon be released.


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