We started off the week with a day in the castle of Good Hope. We were helping the staff there prepare to open again for the the first time in years. We spent the morning dust busting! It was fun to be in a castle and the grounds were beautiful. We also got to see a mock key ceremony and a man fire a canon a few times. The castle was also a stark representation of a concept we spoke about a lot during our time so far. Decolonizing museums comes up often in conversation and I think this place is a prime example of the issues of colonialism in museums. Most of the artwork in the castle are paintings of grand Dutch ships on the sea. The artwork, mock presentations, and castle itself ring of colonial times. That being said they are still a part of South African history and heritage. The question for curators now is how to make this space more accessible to local visitors. It could be through dissecting the problematic history behind certain portraits or, making labels in Xhosa as well as English and Afrikaans.
We spent rest of this week on the mobile museum. . Using some of the printmaking techniques we learned in Johannesburg we led a workshop with the children on printmaking. Using styrofoam and pens the children created their own stamps and printed on paper. The other mobile museum days we went to libraries in different communities. It was interesting to see how museums functioned in Cape Town versus at home. Many of the places we visited had full day programs for children during the school holiday led by volunteers. At home we have programs at libraries that may last an hour or two but not something as intensive. I think the way they do it in South Africa is good though because it helps keep the kids out of trouble. At work this week was also bittersweet since the interns from Reunion Island who started the same time as us were leaving. On Thursday we had a potluck as a group with our supervisors. There was great food and wonderful company. Carol could not be there but she sent over cake and cookies for us which was sweet.