Museology Master of Arts Program

November 14, 2019

“Pass the Mic”: Perceptions of Museum-Community Collaborative Exhibit Development

Thesis by Theresa Ball (2018)

Museums and communities are increasingly coming together to share history, culture, and skills in the development of collaborative exhibits. While collaborative work has been well-explored in the museological field, it is rarely examined from the perspective of the community. Using semi-structured interviews with museum professionals and partnering community members, this study aims to understand and compare perceptions of collaborative exhibit development among both museum professionals and community partners. The results reveal that, overall, individuals who work together on collaborative exhibit development projects maintain a shared set of values. However, there are subtle differences present in the ways in which museum professionals and community partners perceive the benefits, challenges, and relationships of collaborative exhibit development. These findings indicate that such work is still in its infancy in museum practice. With a more complete and nuanced understanding of collaborative practice, museums may work towards a more equitable, responsible, and mutually beneficial relationships with community members.

Keywords: Class of 2018, Museum Studies, Communication and the Arts, Collaboration, Collaborative Exhibit Development, Community, Decolonization, Exhibits, Museums, museology


Ball, T., Morrissey, Kristine, Barker, Holly, & Carter, Brian. (2018). “Pass the Mic”: Perceptions of Museum-Community Collaborative Exhibit Development, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.