Taking Transparent Action: Decolonizing the American Collective Memory of Ancient Greece in the Art Museum
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Using the principle of radical transparency, this thesis explores opportunities to decolonize the ancient art galleries in the museum in order to decolonize the American collective memory of ancient Greece. The second chapter considers the issues of accuracy and objectivity in polychrome reconstructions of ancient Greek marble sculpture. The third chapter addresses how the art museum can approach the uncomfortable topics of race and ethnicity in Greece without relying on modern ideologies that did not exist in that ancient historical context, especially through the images of dark-skinned people on or as Greek pottery. The fourth chapter explores how the gallery space can best communicate nuanced topics like those already described in such limiting conditions. Finally, the conclusion considers the Fayum funeral portraits from Roman Egypt to summarize these issues of polychromy, ethnic identity, and provenance. This case study underscores the need to practice radical transparency in the art museum because of the power given to curators to (de)construct these colonial knowledge systems for the general public.
Kennedy, Sydney M., "Taking Transparent Action: Decolonizing the American Collective Memory of Ancient Greece in the Art Museum" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1759.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
On-Campus Access Only