What does “Community Engagement” mean? What does “Community Engagement” look like? Can you evaluate it? Why should should museums and cultural institutions care about this two word, catch-all, glitzy phrase?
In this portion of the blog, we will tackle this idea of Community Engagement through real-world examples and analysis. Check back for five total posts on these examples with discussions, and the culminating analysis in the sixth week of what we (the authors) think Community Engagement in Museums means. Now that you know what we’re about, let’s get started!
Community Engagement Example #1: Philadelphia Public History Truck: A mobile museum exploring cultural access and engagement through community curating
Check it out, here: http://phillyhistorytruck.wordpress.com/about/
This mobile history museum seeks to connect the neighbors and neighborhoods of Philadelphia through public history, community engagement, and accessible content. The “Truckers” have a ten step plan for achieving this goal. Overall the idea of community engagement comes from their emphasis on accessible content. Throughout the project and in their goal descriptions, the writers of the website use phrases such as “with the community” and “with the neighborhood.” This “with” dramatically shifts the collected content from isolated, inaccessible history to personal, accessible past. The PPHT works in conjunction with neighborhood associations, community spaces, and community voices to create curated, engaging, content.
The basics of Community Engagement met through this project: community ownership, use of geographic/neighborhood space, relationship building and partnership, and accessible content.