Museum Trends: Political Protests in the Galleries


Examples of artwork that was de-installed at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum. Image from:

From February 16-21, The Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts made a bold political response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration, the so-called Muslim ban. The museum de-installed or covered up works by immigrant artists, or pieces that were given to the museum by immigrant collectors. Portable works such as paintings were de-installed, while more permanent arrangements like display cases were shrouded by visually striking black fabric. The decision to hold the “exhibition” over Presidents’ Day was strategic, as the museum believes its message resonated to a further extent.

Around one-fifth of the museum’s permanent collection, or about 120 works, were removed or covered. The African Art section was almost entirely gone, as the family who donated 80% of the pieces came to the U.S. from Poland after World War II.

The Davis Museum encourages other institutions to make statements about the new executive order. Lisa Fischman, the director the museum, said while she does not believe art will impact policy, it can change lives.

For more information about the Davis Museum’s political protest, please visit:

Amy Shirer ’18



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