Musée Gauguin Tahiti: Indigenous Places, Colonial Heritage

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather L. Waldroup Ph.D, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: This essay discusses the Musee Gauguin Tahiti as a problematic counterpoint for contemporary developments in Oceanic museology. Considering Gauguin's complex relationship to French colonial history, the tourism industry and Pacific Island history, the site raises a number of significant issues. It occupies an ambiguous place in the museum/cultural centre/heritage site taxonomy, and its undermining of standard museum display practices often results in obfuscation, rather than clarification, of viewer understanding of Gauguin 's artworks themselves, their art historical significance, or the artist's relationship to Pacific social history. Still, it offers a unique experience for tourist-visitors, and has the potential to include indigenous communities in its display practices, programming and management. This essay engages with emerging literature in the field of Oceanic museum studies to consider the role of this curious historical site in the contemporary, global Pacific, particularly how it might more effectively address the needs of non-tourist (especially indigenous) communities.

Additional Information

Waldroup, Heather. (2008), Musée Gauguin Tahiti: Indigenous Places, Colonial Heritage. International Journal of Heritage Studies 14:6, 489-505 (lead essay). Version of record published by Routledge - Taylor & Francis (ISSN: 1470-3610). DOI: 10.1080/13527250802503258
Language: English
Date: 2008

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