Museum Outreach and Academic Identity: An Examination of Academic Identity Formation in Underserved Audiences
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University of Washington Abstract Museum Outreach and Academic Identity: An Examination of Academic Identity Formation in Underserved Audiences Linda DeJesus Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Kris Morrissey, PhD Director Museology The purpose of this study is to examine art outreach programs for under-served youth and how the programs promote the development of positive academic identity formation. The study addressed two research questions: What do museum professionals believe the overall goals of the programs to be? In what ways do museum professionals report the programs having an influence on participant's academic identity? To answer these questions the researcher conducted interviews at two sites, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Young at Art Museum. Six interviews were conducted at each site with various professionals, museum and non-museum professionals, to provide a broader view of the programs, their goals, and impacts on youth. Interviewees from both sites stressed the importance of new life experiences to expose students to new ideas, perceptions, and views of the world, as well as providing students with agency and empowerment to use art and their developed art skills to express themselves in healthy ways. One of the goals differed between the two sites; this goal pertained to promoting positive academic outcomes. Overall the reported goals and impacts suggest that these programs are promoting positive academic identity formation. While it might not be an expressed or stated goal of the program, evidence as reported by facilitators and others associated with the programs suggests that concepts and values related to academic identify formation are important to the programs.
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