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|
Senior Lecturer in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Honorary Associate, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
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