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It’s All Greek to Me: How Museums Use Language to Connect to Community

Thesis by Travis Monagle (2017)

How museums engage with visitors who speak different languages is seldom looked at in museum literature. The goal of this research was to examine the characteristics of museums who are using non-English and non-Spanish language within the museum. To accomplish this a qualitative multiple method approach was used. Five semi-structured interviews were conducted with museum professionals from four different institutions. In addition, document analysis was used on the museum’s website. The research suggests that museums who want to incorporate language to engage with communities should engage in conversations and build relationships with that community. Asking the community how or if they would use bilingual exhibit panels, and asking for help from the community to accomplish the museum’s linguistic goals are some examples that museums can do to develop those relationships.

Keywords: Class of 2017, museum, museum studies, museology, research, bi-lingual labels, museums, community, non-English speaking


Monagle, T., & Morrissey, Kris. (2017). It’s all Greek to me : How museums use language to connect to community. [University of Washington Libraries].