The primary argument of this essay is that the modern Western museum form is a critical site in which to understand the five centuries in which Europe dominated much of the rest of the world. In this imperial epoch, the world was shrunk to the museum and the museum was expanded to represent the colonized world, and nonhuman objects and human subjects were trafficked in connected ways. Now that we may be entering a planetary epoch, and the beginning of the end of globalization, there is an opportunity to build a new way to collect, curate, display, and circulate material forms outside the empire of the modernist museum.

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