The Ecological Museum: Improving Diversity in Museum Practice through an Ecological Mind-set

By Yuha Jung.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The topic of this paper is the role of current art museum education in practicing and promoting cultural diversity. Many United States’ art museums, especially in metropolitan areas, have long been accused of being Eurocentric, elite, and authoritative. These hegemonic and Eurocentric tendencies derive from three interrelated factors: the history of museum development, a lack of diversity awareness among museum professionals, and modernistic educational ideas. By using the metaphors of biodiversity and ecology, this paper emphasizes the importance of cultural diversity and different ways of learning and living. In addition, through an interview with a current museum educator, real-world museum challenges are identified and analyzed. Finally, the paper suggests internal and external solutions intended to transform the negative aspects of current museum discourse. In the process of transformation, an ecological mind-set plays an important role. This approach involves seeing the world from a holistic viewpoint and treating individuals not as basic social units but, rather, as part of the natural world. The ecological mind-set rejects Eurocentric idea that the world’s people are divided based on their social condition, educational level, race, gender, cultural background, or sexual orientation. Placing an ecological mind-set at the center of museum practices and culture is a promising way to invite as many people as possible to full participation in museum experiences.

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Ecological Mind-set, Inclusive Museum, Ecological Museum

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.73-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 620.977KB).

Dr. Yuha Jung

PhD Student, Art Education School of Visual Arts, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA

Yuha Jung holds a B.F.A. in painting from Yeung Nam University in South Korea and a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from Syracuse University. She has worked at several museums, including the Everson Museum of Art, the Syracuse University Art Galleries, the Erie Canal Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Art Education at the Pennsylvania State University, where she has taught a course on Museum Education and currently serves as the coordinator of the Edwin W. Zoller Gallery. Jung’s research interests center around the incorporation of cultural diversity, ecological-mindedness, and informal learning in museum education and practice. After completing her degree, she plans to pursue the goal of diversification of museum audiences, professionals, exhibitions, and other programs on the professional level through the development and implementation of appropriate museum policies.

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