Dialogues and Discourses: Talking about Tough Topics in Museums
Museums across the world are important sites for sharing objects, research, and ideas. They are also helping to drive discourse on challenging topics from climate change to systemic racism. At the same time, museums are grappling with many of their own practices - of collecting, interpreting, connecting with underrepresented audiences. How are museums fostering complex conversations? What works, what doesn’t? Where do we go from here?
The panel was inspired by a 2019 transatlantic seminar for museum curators and educators which addressed these questions. Hosted at the Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with Fulbright Germany and the Leibniz Association, this transatlantic exchange also resulted in the most recent Journal of Museum Education, which is dedicated to topics developed from the seminar.
The 75-minute program will include a moderated discussion with museum professionals from the United States and Germany, as well as an opportunity for exchange of ideas among all participants.
- Julie Garner, Theater Specialist; Smithsonian National Museum of American History
- Sarah Junk Hatcher, Head of Programs and Education; Indiana University of Archaeology and Anthropology
- Frank Usbeck, Curator for American Collections; State Ethnographic Collections Saxony / State Art Collections Dresden
- Heike Zech, Deputy to Director General & Head of Exhibitions & Head of Decorative Arts before 1800; Germanisches Nationalmuseum – Leibniz-Forschungsmuseum für Kulturgeschichte, Nürnberg
- Barbara Stauffer, Chief of Community Programs; Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Moderator)