Yesterday we visited three museums in Cartagena: Museo del Oro, Museo Historico Cartagena de Indias, and a couple art museums. We separated from the group and Will, Tori, and I took this opportunity to become immersed in learning about how museums in Cartagena depict race and culture.
El Museo del Oro was a traditional history museum but I loved learning about how Cartagena is a mixed culture of Africans, Europeans, and Indigenous cultures. The exhibit focused on how gold was produced in the different regions of Colombia. The exhibit also explained the significance of gold objects in the Zenu culture and used for funerals.
Then we visited Museo Historico Cartagena de Indias. They had an exhibit on the Spanish Inquisition, it was very engaging. The exhibit design was interactive with 3-D labels, quotes by Gabriel Garcia Marquiez and Tori was able to download a soundwalk audio tour which provided a great tour of the Inquisition exhibit as a story. The story provided two perspectives on the Inquisition, the first was from the perspective of a bruja (witch), and the other was of the Grand Inquisitor, Tomas de Torquemada. It was an entertaining sound tour but also educational.
Additionally, I loved how the exhibit focused on the issues of anti-semitism, and intolerance against witches, Jews, and non-Christians. The themes of tolerance and intolerance regarding race, gender, and religion are issues that are relevant today. Learning about the ways in which religious officials dealt with the issue of having different racial, cultural, and religious groups in their communities had important messages of how fear of others can result in persecution of diverse groups. This exhibit had important connections to topics we discussed in Will’s Class, Race, and Gender (Identity and Activism) course at CGP.
Today we traveled to Barranquilla and visited Parque Cultural del Caribe. This museum was very interactive! I loved how they incorporated documentaries to depict the biodiversity of Colombia and the Caribbean region. My favorite exhibits were the music exhibit where they showed the different cultural groups: Africans, Indigenous, and European musicians playing instruments and dancing to a song that incorporated the different beats and sounds of the cultural groups. This exhibit like several others did not have words or objects but conveyed messages of the diversity of the culture, music, and traditions of Colombia and the Caribbean. Although I feel like the museum would benefit from creating labels in English to reach a broader audience base, the exhibits effectively incorporated films to convey messages with visuals and sound.
I learned a lot about international museums visiting these different museums in Cartagena and Barranquilla. I also enjoyed learning about how the museum topics are relevant to what we learn about diversity and creating interactive exhibits in our classes at CGP.
~ Falicia Eddy