Transatlantic Slavery exhibition in 2021
6 July 2020
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery has confirmed that it will show a major exhibition on the museum and Devon’s links with transatlantic slavery in January 2022. Originally planned for 2020, the Covid-19 emergency and lockdown forced a postponement.
Since 2018, RAMM has been investigating its collections in the light of transatlantic slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Given its Victorian origins, the museum has donors and patrons who have documented links with individuals, organisations and families who profited from trafficking enslaved people, as well as collections that contain evidence of the trade in Devon.
Aware of its limitations with a predominantly white staff, the museum is working with people from local diverse communities to create the exhibition and to plan associated events, to ensure that their voices are heard. This includes an advisory panel, community researchers, academics and students. Julien Parsons, RAMM’s lead on collections and content, said, ‘In this instance the curators do not know all of the answers, and frequently we were asking the wrong questions.’
The results of the research will be shown in the exhibition In Plain Sight: Transatlantic Slavery and Devon. It will investigate aspects of Devon and Exeter’s relationship with the transatlantic slave trade that are all around us, but for some remain ‘hidden in plain sight’. Using RAMM’s collections and the personal and professional experience of many contributors it aims to shed light on this hidden history.
Parsons said, ‘We have involved so many people and drawn on so much expertise to develop the exhibition themes and displays that we wanted to assure them all that we will now put on the exhibition next year.’