LSMS 5173: Museums, Cultures and Communities
Why is it cool?
Museums and their collections no longer stand apart from the communities they serve. Increasingly, museums are called upon to interact with society in new and sometimes unexpected ways.
This evolving role has revised the traditional mission of museums. It requires new approaches and partnerships designed to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and often demanding audience. Successful interaction with the public through exhibitions, educational programming, public relations, marketing, board development and volunteer associations not only strengthens the museum’s position of leadership within the community, but is also key to gaining and maintaining the financial and moral support required for its very survival.
This class is cool because it explores the evolving relationship of museums and communities. It makes an effort to understand how this relationship impacts traditional museum activities like collecting, exhibition, interpretation, education, public relations and fundraising. Students review current literature on the subject and take into account the impact of new and diverse museum audiences. In doing so, they gain an appreciation for the various ways museums shape their communities and how communities impact the way museums do business. Special emphasis is placed on the critical role of public and private funding, making this class particularly valuable to any student looking to apply what they learn in the museum world.
At the end of this course, students have a better understanding of the relationship between museums and the communities they serve. Throughout the course, students also gain an understanding and appreciation for public participation in museums. Students emerge from the class with a more complete knowledge of the role of museums, as well as the various ways that cooperation with key publics can strengthen the organization and the community as a whole.