White Sanctuaries: White Supremacy, Racism, Space, and Fine Arts in Two Metropolitan Museums
Author ORCID Identifier
American Behavioral Scientist
In this article, we compare two nationally recognized museums located in Chicago and Boston: The Art Institute of Chicago and the Boston Fine Arts Museum. We find that while both museums are colonial projects and White sanctuaries, there are variations in the racial mechanisms in place that help maintain White supremacy. Specifically, we look at three such mechanisms and compare and contrast between the two museums. We contend our findings suggest that while White supremacy is universal in its national (global) depth and breath, place matters. We argue that the physical context of the museums—their location within each city, the lay out of their locations, and the physical space of the museums themselves—help explain this variation. We end with specific implications for our work, centering on how we might dismantle current ideas of high culture (read: White) in favor of museums that are more inclusive, recognize their colonial project histories, and have antiracism in their mission as socially responsible institutions for the cities in which they reside and the people who reside there.
museum, racism, White sanctuary, White supremacy
Domínguez, Silvia; Weffer, Simón E.; and Embrick, David G., "White Sanctuaries: White Supremacy, Racism, Space, and Fine Arts in Two Metropolitan Museums" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 604.
Department of Sociology