Havelock(s) are a modern hallmark of the American Civil War period. The cloth/cotton cap was designed to fit right over a soldier’s cap, and had a flap-like tail that came down and covered the soldier’s neck. The instrumentation of the Havelock was to keep soldiers cooler and would prevent sunstroke on very scorching days. The covering was developed and made popular by Sir Henry Havelock of the British army in 1861. The popularity quickly lost traction because its intended purpose did the opposite. The Havelock didn’t keep soldiers cooler in fact they actually made them feel hotter.
As a society we have to acknowledge the history of imperialism and colonialism that exist in many museums. Museums are at a crossroad because to some(purists and professionals) they believe that museums’ intimidate visitors who were not raised in the museum culture and feel unwelcome in the galleries. Others believe that museums are sacrificing the ambiance of the establishment, by taking away the purity of the materials, workmanship, and beauty of the objects on display. That art museums are trying to bend to popular culture and the market. In conclusion the museums end up taking a neutral role in politics.
Museums must take accountability of the marginalized communities they choose to curate. These artifacts or historical figures at one point belonged to native countries. If you know the history of these places, you know they’re a product of colonialism. If the cultural traditions of these objects or people are not represented/documented in the right way, museums are faulting the audience, and the future-comers to the museum. These objects must either be returned to their native countries, or the Smithsonian/curators must embrace and address the stories of these artifacts, so the public gets a more adequate understanding of the complexity of its history.
To present history to the public, museums must take a bigger role in addressing what societal issues are at the time. They(museums) are civil spaces where people go in hopes to unravel the truth. Making sense of the messy and the complicated past, art historians must make labels easier to read and provide context and detail. The problem that arises is whether or not it is possible to tell effective detailed stories, and share complexity? Museums began as a space for visitors to engage in their curiosity for history. Now museums must find a way to tell good story telling and provide historical detail.