I know I always say I have never found a museum I didn’t like, but there wasn’t a lot that caught my fancy in the Muskegon Museum of Art. Maybe I’m getting jaded in my old age?
The main exhibition in this small museum was a retrospective of the work of Edward Curtis, celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth. He is know for the photographic work he did on Native Americans from 1900 – 1930, because he thought their culture was going to die away, and he wanted to preserve it for the future. Quite a commendable undertaking, and he ended up with 20 volumes over those 30 years and I don’t know how many thousands of photographs. But today his work is controversial, as he often posed his subjects and even supplied them with props, in order to depict them as he thought Native Americans were. Therefore some people feel he highlighted stereotypes that weren’t really helpful to preserving the Native American culture.