Feb. 16, 2005
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Justin Estoque will present a lecture, "And they tell us, `Speak only when spoken to!': Native Voice at the National Museum of the American Indian," Tuesday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.
The $219 million National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) opened this past fall amid elaborate ceremony, the newest addition to the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
A top administrator at NMAI, Estoque will describe the strongly contested political ground the NMAI had to traverse to create the new interface between America's Indians and the broader American public. The dramatic architecture of its building also challenged existing patterns.
Estoque will discuss the 15-year effort that preceded the opening of the NMAI, and the many questions that arose along the way.
He says, "In my journey from the museum's inception to its opening, some of the thought-provoking questions were: How do Native people see museums differently from the general public? How can a building that is representative of Native culture also respect the European formality of buildings in Washington. D.C.? How can a physical structure successfully represent hundreds of indigenous culture groups from across the entire hemisphere?
"Some of these questions the museum answered very well. Others we are still answering, as evidenced in the commentary from our critics. This journey is peppered with stories, some funny, some heart-wrenching, all indelibly etched in my mind," he said
A 1974 Bucknell graduate, Estoque also holds a master's degree in architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He served as senior project manager during the design and construction phase of the NMAI. He began his new duties as deputy assistant director for community services there in January.
Prior to joining NMAI, he was a project manager with the National Air and Space Museum and with several areas of the Smithsonian. He was awarded a Presidential Design Award for the Master Facilities Program of NMAI in 1995.
"Estoque managed an intensely challenging architectural, political and engineering process that culminated in the September 2004 opening of an extraordinary, highly applauded building that has successfully challenged strongly entrenched expectations," said Tom Greaves, professor of anthropology at Bucknell. "We are delighted that he will share his story with us."
The lecture, which is free to the public, is sponsored by Bucknell's department of sociology and anthropology and the Samek Art Gallery, and cosponsored by Bucknell's department of art and art history, Race/Gender Resource Center, and the University Lectureship Committee.