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Pushing the Needle: Object Based Museum and Source Community Collaborations

Thesis by Molly R. Winslow (2017)

The purpose of this research was to describe the ways object based collaborations with source communities are shifting and influencing museum collections practices and the role of the museum professional. This qualitative study examined six interviews with museum professionals who work directly with objects and source communities at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the National Museum of American Indian. Themes arose which emphasized the necessity of reciprocity and true collaboration, shifts in the authority to make decisions, and the prioritization of relationships over museum agendas. Research suggested the ethic of source community primacy is often brought to this collaborative work, not inspired by it. These projects are idiosyncratic. Each object has its own cultural context and protocols for care and treatment. Through listening, building reciprocal relationships, and not resting on assumptions we can move forward in respectful collaboration and begin to decolonize.

Keywords: Class of 2017, museum, museum studies, museology, research, collections, community collaborations, source communities


Winslow, M., & Morrissey, Kris. (2017). Pushing the needle : Collections based museum and source community collaborations. [University of Washington Libraries].