Sparking Inclusive Dialog

In this session, we will explore effective ways to create more inclusive dialog around American history regardless of whether or not an organization’s primary purpose is to capture the history of minority Americans. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) seeks to tell and amplify, undervalued narratives through its digital engagement strategy. The museum offers a poignant look at American history through an African American lens, by partnering with other cultural organizations in digital campaigns. Some of our most successful partnerships have been with PBS, other Smithsonian museums and research centers, FamilySearch, the Legal Defense Fund, the NAACP and upcoming partnerships with brands like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These collaborations help our museum continue our mission of leading a national discussion on race and reckoning. How do cultural heritage organizations not solely focused on minority history encourage more inclusive and diverse dialog? The Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) which captures the history of the Smithsonian, asked itself this exact question. SIA created a website examining the history and contributions of African Americans to the Smithsonian. The stories are about African American curators, guards, directors, museum technicians, elevator operators, and more who have contributed to the Smithsonian’s mission, and who had often done so despite racial biases of the day. This website gave the Smithsonian the opportunity to look back and understand its own complicated race history timing with the opening of NMAAHC. Another project covered at this presentation will be Wikipedia edit-a-thons SIA has hosted focusing on underrepresented groups in Wikipedia (women and minorities) to give the public the tools they need to create their own digital history. Speakers Session Leader : Effie Kapsalis, Head of Web, New Media & Outreach, Smithsonian Institution Archives Co-Presenter : Lanae Spruce, Digital Engagement Specialist, Smithsonian National Museum of AA History & Culture MCN 2016 Presenting Sponsor: Piction New Orleans, LA