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Strengthening the Roots: Culturally Responsive Museum Education

Thesis by Sara Elena Morales (2018)

“It’s one thing to say you value something, but it’s another thing for organizations to institutionalize a value” As the United States population becomes increasingly diverse, the museum field has recognized the ways in which institutions can exist for broader groups of people using culturally responsive approaches. The purpose of this research study was to understand what culturally responsive programming and education looks like in museums. Interviews occurred with six museum professionals involved in culturally responsive museum programming. Results suggest that the development and implementation of culturally responsive museum programming involve identifying connections between the institution’s mission and community needs, building relationships and trust with communities, developing a sustainable institutional framework to support cultural responsiveness, and recognizing opportunities for growth. It also points to preparation to deliver culturally responsive programming as focusing on self-reflection, leaning into discomfort, and being cross-institutional and continuous. The findings suggest that museums intending to develop culturally responsive educational practices be attentive and inclusive towards various communities and be accountable for their actions.

Keywords: Class of 2018, museum, museum studies, museology, Curriculum Development, Education, Culturally Responsive, Museum Education


Morales, S., Morrissey, Kristine, Collins, Charles, & Pro, Regan. (2018). Strengthening the Roots: Culturally Responsive Museum Education, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.