Embracing Community Development: A Case Study of the Museums of Malawi

By Kimberly Baker.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

Malawi is often referred to as the “warm heart of Africa” due to the exceptional friendliness of people. However, underneath their smiles Malawians struggle with their everyday existence of poverty, lack of education, and disease pandemics that sweep across what is considered to be the poorest country in Africa. This paper focuses on a case study of the Museums of Malawi’s community-based outreach education programs. Specifically, this paper considers how international and national development policies such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015, and the national Malawi Growth and Development Strategy have influenced the museum educators to critically re-examine the ways in which they support community members outside of the constructs of the museum. From this self-reflexive stance the educators created the Mobile Museum programs HIV/AIDS Prevention, Malaria Prevention and the Cultural Promotion in Schools in Malawi programs, which embrace and practice the concept of community development and culturally responsive museum education practices. The development of their Mobile Museum education programs were created as a way to reach the 80% of the Malawian population who have no access to, or connection with the museum. This paper will encourage museum educators to consider alternative approaches to inquiry,and to potentially become agents of civil society, to build strong and meaningful collaborations and partnerships with community, both in their own countries and internationally.

Keywords: Museums and Social Responsibility, Community Development, Culturally Responsive Education

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.39-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.126MB).

Kimberly Baker

Education Program Specialist, Education Department, Museum Educator, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Kimberly A. Baker is an educator, researcher, and artist living in British Columbia, Canada. Her research interests have spanned; artography, socio-cultural and environmental issues, and curriculum practices K-12. Kimberly’s current research examines museum education as a social responsibility. Her intellectual and creative pursuits are driven by the desire to propagate relationships with people and communities through the investigation of global issues, of which implications ultimately shape our collective destiny. Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, at the University of British Columbia, Canada.


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