Local History Centres in Tasmania: Citizenship Hubs of Vitality

By Robin Johnston and Rosa McManamey.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

In terms of their wider civic role as praxis, small regional and rural cultural institutions tend to feature less prominently than large national urban institutions. This paper explores the citizenship contribution and future role of local history centres in the Australian state of Tasmania as informal sites of education and contributors to community engagement. The qualitative study on which the paper is based investigated two rural/regional Tasmanian history centres through a multi-layered research process. Data analysis allowed for many layers and dimensions of meaning and significance. Data were analysed using thematic coding, along with a constructivist approach to Grounded Theory. Findings indicated each of the centres had varied and extensive roles in building community participation and cohesion. Members and volunteers were involved in a citizenship of participation as well as civic engagement, as is valued in Australia school curricula. Notably, community contributions were multidimensional. Networks within the locality and at a distance were fostered to sustain and encourage community engagement based on a groundswell of interest in the past as a means of building future ties and practice.

Keywords: theme: visitors, Museums, Rural and Regional, Volunteers

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 334.675KB).

Dr. Robin Johnston

Senior Lecturer in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Robbie Johnston taught in several sectors of education in Queensland and Tasmania before moving to work in higher education. Robbie’s research in contexts of education focuses on rural and regional contexts and is informed by notions of place and space. Recent research projects have focussed on retention of rural students in education, museums, including virtual museums for children, and small rural history rooms in Tasmania. From 2008–2010, Robbie was Editor, The Social Educator, the refereed journal of the Social Educators’ Association of Australia (SEAA). Robbie is currently a member of the Editorial Committee for this journal and a national committee member of SEAA.

Dr. Rosa McManamey

Honorary Associate, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Dr. Rosa McManamey is a research fellow at the University Department of Rural Health and a researcher in the School of Education, both at the University of Tasmania. Recent research includes projects in bushfire recovery. For her PhD thesis, Rosa won the 2006 Australian New Zealand Regional Science International Postgraduate Award. Rosa is also an artist working in photography and documentary film.

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