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INTERCOM: International Committee on Management

Response Paper to "Beyond Management"

by Alissandra Cummins, Barbados Museum and Historical Society

This paper is also available in PDF format

Response Paper presented at Achieving Excellence: Museum Leadership in the 21st Century INTERCOM/CMA conference held in Ottawa, Canada, September 6-9, 2000.

BACKGROUND:

J.A. Froude wrote about the British West Indies in 1888 saying that " in the Caribbean there has been romance , but it has been the romance of pirates and outlaws".[T]here are no people here in the true sense of the word.". (1) Froude's perspective as a British historian was not unusual, in that his obvious superiority enabled him to comment superciliously on the lack of a recognisable heritage, while at the same time his ethnocentrism would not permit the acknowledgment of either indigenous Amerindian or recently enfranchised African as ‘real people' , capable of engendering a real history to any place.

The process of emerging as a true people then, involves both the valorization of existence/experience and its authentic representation in the annals of history , in the exhibition halls of the museum. The shadow of Froude and colonial history in general, makes it imperative that when addressing notions of Caribbean identity , that we first or simultaneously address those specific historical conditions which legitimized notions of a cultural vacuum. Various manifestations of exile and many consequences of this sense of cultural inadequacy still haunt Caribbean cultural phenomena . In the words of the legendary Bob Marley there is still a need to "emancipate yourself from mental slavery",(2) a need which both audience and academic alike, are increasingly expectant that Caribbean museums can and must address...

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Response Paper to Beyond Management

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