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


Geography and Anthropology

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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.