As of this moment I think the big divide is between those museums that recognize that they might have some relevant response because of their mission, collections, or communities, and those that, despite these connections, say not out loud but by their silence or inaction: “Trayvon Martin? We wouldn’t touch that topic with a ten-foot pole.”
At a minimum, museums with relevant disciplines should be collecting material culture, images, social and print media, and other forms of documentation of this case and its surrounding subtexts in American culture. Whether or not they develop educational programs, post blogs, host Twitter chats or take on any other more public roles depends on how this story develops over the next few weeks. Only time will tell, but I believe that museums with a strong sense of community and mission, (not to mention empathy) especially those with relevant collections and areas of expertise, could provide historical context and safe places for discussion and debate of this multilayered issue.
What are your thoughts?
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