ROM Apologizes For Racist 1989 Exhibit 27 Years Later

About time

If you had visited the Royal Ontario Museum in 1989, you may have remembered an exhibit called Into the Heart of Africa.

The museum’s deputy director, Mark Engstrom read aloud a formal apology, issued by the ROM, at a special event at the museum Wednesday where some guests were even flown in from Ghana. The exhibit angered several African city-goers in Toronto because of it’s portrayal of African societies.

Engstrom said, “The exhibition displayed images and words that showed the fundamentally racist ideas and attitudes of early collectors, and in doing so unintentionally reproduced a colonial, racist and Euro-centric premises”.

He also stated the ROM “deeply regrets” having “contributed to anti-African racism” and apologized, for “the suffering endured” by African-Canadians as a result of Into the Heart of Africa.

Matt Brower, a Professor of museum studies at the University of Toronto, spoke to the Canadian Press, stating that the exhibit is now displayed in classrooms as an example of what what not to do. “It was an enormous failure,” Brower said of the 1989 exhibit.

What do you think of the apology?

Main image courtesy of Twitter