Dissertation

Title: Serving Under-served Communities in Museums and Historical Organizations: Creating Meaningful Public Programming

Dissertation Committee: 

 Dr. Carroll Van West, Chair

Dr. Brenden Martin

Dr. Dawn McCormack

Dr. Lisa Pruitt

Dr. Stacey Graham

Abstract:  Throughout history there have been many populations that have been discriminated against or ignored by institutions and organizations of all types.  The same is true of museums, and some might argue that those problems still exist today.   Even with the Americans with Disabilities Act it seems that museums and historic organizations are still behind in reaching out to and welcoming people with learning or developmental disabilities.  This dissertation will explore past relationships and attempts at inclusion, the state of the situation at this time, and possible alternatives and programming developed specifically for secondary education students who have learning or developmental disabilities at museums and historical organizations.  This dissertation will also include a model for museums to use in developing programming and welcoming an under-served population into their organization.

Main research question: How can museums and cultural organizations better serve people who have learning, cognitive, or developmental disabilities through programming?

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