In the field of postmodern museum studies, scholars increasingly challenge the notion of the traditional Western museum as a temple of knowledge in which the rhetoric surrounding artifacts was often used to shape perceptions of historical events and trends. The model of the ecomuseum (from the French “écomusée”) arose in Europe in the late twentieth century in industrial towns as a way for local communities to navigate their heritage and changing way of life in a post-industrial era. Grassroots institutions, these ecomuseums extended preservation and cultural knowledge beyond the building walls to encompass the wider context of the community’s political and economic spheres and fulfill a number of roles as an educational institution, a storehouse of historic preservation, and a seat of community activism that gave community members a voice in representing their history, bridging the past, present, and future, and educating community members as well as visitors about the wider context of a local history. This model has been applied to a limited extent outside of Europe, but has a wealth of potential in the United States and elsewhere as a grassroots approach to shaping culture and building an authentic understanding of heritage within indigenous and ethnic communities.
|Keywords:||Ecomuseum, Community Museum, Cultural Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, New Museology, Museum Education|
Doctoral Student, Social Foundations of Education, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
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