This blog is the place to exchange ideas, news, issues and thoughts about diversity and multiculturalism in museums. The Multicultural Initiatives Committee is a Texas Association of Museums Affinity Group.

Friday, 14 March 2008

History through the Eyes of All

As a Mexican woman, working in a living history museum that interprets nineteenth century Texas life, I am very conscious of interpreting history as accurately and inclusively as possible. Because we are all of one ethnicity and culture or another, we all tend to focus on OUR ancestors and their experiences. This makes it daunting- if not impossible- to interpret history without bias. Yet it is a museum's responsibility, as repositories of the public memory and trust, to do this as best as we can.

The solution? Have input from diverse staff, board and community members. Simple, right? Absolutely not. This continues to be very challenging because by and large, minority museum staff and board members are extremely underrepresented. Some informal surveys have confirmed this, and the MIC hopes to do another museums demographics survey this year.

As a result of this under representation in museum staff and board members, some people will not find their history in museums - or worse they may find a stereotype of their culture! But I believe that as more museums strive to be as inclusive as possible and make themselves available as a safe place for dialogue and debate, new audiences will visit museums. From these audiences, many future museum professionals can emerge. And thus, the cycle can finally be broken!

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