Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074


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Monday, Sunday Closed

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The Allen's collection is particularly strong in 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting, Japanese prints, early modern art, African art, and more.

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September 15, 2021 - August 7, 2022
In Northwest Ambulatory


September 15, 2021 - August 7, 2022
In Northwest Ambulatory

Many museums have begun to write and display statements that acknowledge the Indigenous communities past and present that have lived on and stewarded the natural resources of land now occupied by the institution. In this yearlong exhibition and series of programs, as well as through internal conversations, we are asking ourselves: how can—and should—the process of writing a land acknowledgment transform our museum?

One year ago, AMAM staff composed a statement recognizing that this museum exists—and has been able to grow and thrive—as a direct result of histories of dispossession. Now, we are pushing ourselves to think more concretely about how we are implicated in these histories.

This installation uses works in our collection to explore how dispossession and possession are inextricably linked: when one person or institution possesses something, someone else is dispossessed. In the fall semester, we investigate the role that canonical American art has played in perpetuating myths about the land that reinforce a settler colonial mindset. In the spring, we foreground the extractive enterprises on which most modern museums are founded and have grown, from oil drilling to colonial expeditions.

We hope this installation and related programs will provoke conversations that challenge us all, individually and collectively, to consider what it means to acknowledge the land.

Organized by

Alexandra Letvin

Assistant Curator of European and American Art

Hannah Wirta Kinney

Assistant Curator of Academic Programs


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