Tribal Cultural Centers: Planning for Today and Tomorrow
Lee, Josephine Greendeer
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Tribal Cultural Centers: Planning for Today and Tomorrow At the end of the 20th century, tribal museums were one of the fastest growing sections of the museum field, but since then little has been published on the tribal cultural center planning. The study developed a baseline about tribal cultural centers across the 48 continental United States and Alaska that opened within the past ten years. This research asked: What do tribal museums look like? How are they formed? And, why are they relevant? In order to gather this information, a survey of 53 questions was distributed to recently opened tribal cultural centers. This survey was divided into ten sections to analyze basic information, funding, facility, planning, land, construction, collections, visitation, and advice for building. Upon completion of the survey, follow-up interviews were conducted. This study discovered that the tribal cultural centers included within the research were built to tell the stories of their people to their people and others. They had a range of sizes and funding sources, but still strive to do similar things. While tribal members were not the most frequent visitors, these facilities would not exist without them. Tribes who are interested in planning cultural centers need to remember the two types of audiences that attend these facilities, and remember to think about the purpose of the facility during the planning process for creating a new cultural center.
- Museology