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Inclusivity, Difficult History, and the Modern Museum Audience

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This luncheon was open to Directors, Deputy Directors, CEOs, CFOs, Leadership Team Members, and Trustees, and featured guest speaker David Pettyjohn, Executive Director of the Idaho Humanities Council. David Pettyjohn discussed the Council’s mission of “deepening the understanding of human experience by connecting people with ideas,” and provided information on programming and funding opportunities, including Museum on Main Street, Speakers Bureau, and grants.

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Inclusivity, Difficult History, and the Modern Museum Audience

  1. 1. INCLUSIVITY, DIFFICULT HISTORY, AND THE MODERN MUSEUM AUDIENCE Western Museums Association, October 7, 2019
  2. 2. Panel  Jacey Brain  Visitor Services Coordinator, Idaho State Historical Society, Old Idaho Penitentiary  Phillip Thompson  Executive Director, Board President, Idaho Black History Museum  Hanako Wakatsuki  Chief of Interpretation and Education, National Park Service, Minidoka National Historic Site
  3. 3. Old Idaho Penitentiary
  4. 4. Crafty Cons
  5. 5. Faces of the Idaho State Penitentiary Opened January 12, 2019
  6. 6.  Components of Faces of the ISP:  Nearly 60 full biographies  “Culture Shock”  “An Inclusive Institution”  “Prison Identity”  “Questions of Morality”  “Changing Times, Changing Crimes”  “Prison Staff”  “Past to Present”
  7. 7. Minidoka National Historic Site
  8. 8. Idaho Black History Museum
  9. 9. The Art of Diplomacy: Meet them where they are, not where you think they should be
  10. 10. Assume Nothing: Color, religion, name, political affiliation, clothing, accent – mean nothing
  11. 11. Listen without Debate: Listening is more than “hearing”
  12. 12. Deductive Reasoning, Not Emotion: “DINO” – Date invalidates/negates Opinion
  13. 13. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A CHALLENGES WITH INTERPRETING MINIDOKA NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE October 7, 2019 Western Museums Association Conference Boise, Idaho National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Minidoka National Historic Site
  14. 14. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A Minidoka National Historic Site
  15. 15. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A During WWII: 110,000 people forcibly removed to 10 camps
  16. 16. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A Minidoka Stats  Incarcerees were from Washington, Oregon, and Alaska  In operation for 3 years  33,000 Acres large  13,000 people went through Minidoka  Peak population: 9,397 people  Idaho’s 7th largest city
  17. 17. How do we interpret this history?  Consult the many communities invested in this story to collectively develop the park’s on the interpretive themes  General Management Plan  Foundation Document  Long-Range Interpretive Plan  Use current academic research to inform us  Use facilitated dialogue techniques and approach through conversation  Provide the history in full context, not just through the lens of WWII E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A
  18. 18. Audience Issues  Audience is misinformed on the subject  “Social truths” conflicts with facts  “Military necessity” falsehood  Assumptions incarcerees were POWs  Not wanting to accept government reports  Implicit Bias  Politics  Racism  Harassing interns/employees on information provided because of false sense of “bias” due to ethnicity  Challenging why interns/employees are there based on their ethnicity E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A
  19. 19. How we try to mitigate this? E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A  More pubic programming to make this story more known  Create dynamic interpretive media and experiences  Film  Exhibits  Special Events: Pilgrimages  Trying to spend more one on one time if possible to open the dialogue
  20. 20. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A Minidoka National Historic Site www.nps.gov/miin 208-825-4169 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior
  21. 21. Contact Us! For questions, discussion, or a copy of the presentation:  Jacey Brain, Idaho State Historical Society  jacey.brain@ishs.idaho.gov  Phillip Thompson, Idaho Black History Museum  phillip.thompson@ibhm.org  Hanako Wakatsuki, National Park Service  hanako_wakatsuki-chong@nps.org