Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2016

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Museum Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Museum Studies

First Advisor

Stephanie Brown

Second Advisor

Marjorie Schwarzer

Third Advisor

Paula Birnbaum


Historically, there has been a critical imbalance in the way history and preservation organizations are civically supported in comparison with the amount of funding that is available to arts organizations in the United States. To correct this imbalance in San Francisco, I propose the creation of a San Francisco Department of Culture that would place the San Francisco Arts Commission equally alongside a San Francisco History Commission within a department that absorbs responsibilities currently managed by other divisions with in city government, such as the Planning Department and the Office and Economic and Workforce Development. City government necessarily takes time to reorganize, so the first step will be to advocate for and demonstrate the need for a Department of Culture; this can be achieved by continuing to strengthen and expand San Francisco History Days, and by grooming key members of the event’s organizing committee to become stakeholders in a nascent San Francisco History Commission. This, however, will only address part of the problem; we must also address the problematic federal and perceptual division of the Arts from the Humanities, and the inaccurate perception that History is boring and irrelevant to contemporary life. To do this, we must present History didactically—in conversation with its surroundings, through collaboration with other types of cultural organizations.