Outreach as a process not an event
For those who have followed this blog for a while, you are familiar with the 2010 Strengthening Communities Grant Initiative at the C.H Nash Museum at Chucalissa. I have posted about this project as being like a node on a continuum of community engagement. I am reminded of that fact this summer in several ways. First, Jasmine Morrison, one of the student participants in the 2010 project, who also continued as a project volunteer in the summer of 2011, this summer is a visitor services employee at the Museum. She brings to the Museum her experience and skills learned during her first year as a Communications major at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Her employment at the Museum this summer enhances her formal education through a hands-on application with our visitors.
Also, this past week, Davarius Burton, another of the 2010 student participants dropped by with his composition notebook from the project to discuss those aspects of the exhibit he wants to continue working on this summer. Davarius will conduct more interviews with community leaders. He also plans to create a stand alone website that will feature and expand on the work of his fellow students from the 2010 project. Like Jasmine, Davarius brings a wealth of experience to the table for this next phase of the African American Cultural Heritage in Southwest Memphis project. Davarius will enter the University of Memphis this fall as a student in architecture.
Finally, the current issue of the Society for Applied Anthropology’s newsletter contains the article Applied Archaeology and Community Engagement that reviews the past five years of our community outreach at the C.H. Nash Museum. We are excited about what the next five years will bring as we continue to build a community based relationship for our Museum.
This all fits well with an adage I enjoy “It’s a process, not an event.”