The Path to Cultural Sensitivity? Inclusion and Co-Curation

By: Chris Brusatte

This article appeared on the National Council for Public History's blog History@Work on May 3, 2017

Historical interpretation has come a long way from the days when museums would sequester African and Asian cultures in natural history exhibit halls. In the past few decades, interpretive exhibits and programs have shifted to become more sensitive to marginalized peoples, groups, and cultures. But is it enough? Have interpretive sites fully realized a vision of equality, tolerance, and full inclusion? Or are we still just scratching the surface? 

Too often, interpretation is still directed entirely by curators, interpreters, and institutions who are not themselves connected with the group being interpreted. Those in authority often fail to include representatives of under-represented and under-served groups in decision making. The resulting interpretation excludes the thoughts and viewpoints of members of the marginalized group, and it fails to be relevant or captivating to visitors who are part of that group. It also fails to give an accurate representation to all visitors and simply reinforces the particular worldviews of the majority culture.  CONTINUE READING