MUSE E-230 Smithsonian: The History, Presence, and Possibility of Black Museums
For the past 150 years, black museums have been solidifying their place as critical cultural resources for communities around the United States and the world. Despite this long history, many still believe that there is no literature to reference in teaching or writing about black museums from a museum studies perspective. This unique course challenges that belief by looking at black museums from a reference point that addresses a range of museum topics: history, professional practice, cultural practice, audience development/engagement, and globalizing influence. This course provides important perspectives, case studies, and resources to shine a light on the development of diversity in museums. With nearly 200 museums to reference in the US and beyond, and with a history that began 150 years ago, we work through the abundant corpus of archival, visual, moving image, and digital material to both inform and animate the lessons learned over the semester. This is a topic on which one enters the room bringing one's world view and priorities based on a people's history, cultures, and values to the table: context is all.