photograph from behind of three figures sitting on museum bench facing a grid of faces

Museum Diplomacy

Transnational Public History and the U.S. Department of State

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Description

The Museums Connect program stands at the intersection of transnational public history and international diplomacy. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, this program partners U.S. museums and non-U.S. museums in projects designed to foster community collaboration and engagement. Museum Diplomacy focuses on three Museums Connect projects arranged between the United States and South Africa, Morocco, and Afghanistan, respectively. Utilizing a diverse range of oral interviews, Richard J. W. Harker explores how museums negotiate national boundaries, institutional and local histories, and post-9/11 geopolitical interests. Working in different political and professional contexts, museum partners have built community-driven collaborative exhibitions and projects that tell transnational stories.

As more historic sites and museums seek to surmount social, cultural, and economic barriers between themselves and their communities in their exhibitions and programming, the Museums Connect program provides important lessons on how to overcome entrenched hierarchies of power in public history.

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