Title

Speaking of Change in Charlotte, North Carolina: How Museums Can Shape Immigrant Receptivity in a Community Navigating Rapid Cultural Change

Department

Geography & Anthropology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2015

Abstract

To what degree can a museum impact cultural change in a community? Drawing from an evaluation of Levine Museum of the New South's Speaking of Change program, this article – which is the outcome of a community engaged partnership between museum staff, urban social geographers, and urban education scholars – describes one museum's community practice in shaping receptivity toward newcomers in a new immigrant gateway. Specifically, we demonstrate how through its exhibit and dialogue programming, the museum deepened understanding of immigration in ways that led to a warmer welcome and proactive inclusion. This research illuminates the critical role of museums in guiding community receptivity towards immigrants in a way that provides counterbalance to reactive or hostile responses.