Date of Graduation

Fall 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



The following paper proposes a collaborative model in which an arts institution, a community organization, and a university come together to present a dual photography and architecture/ design exhibition, along with a series of public programs and education initiatives, to raise awareness regarding the issue of homelessness, empower members of the homeless community, and encourage museum-goers to take action. Furthermore, the project aims to partner with the City of San Francisco to implement design solutions to homelessness. The project, while large in scope, was inspired by a rather simple idea: that the museum should respond more effectively to its immediate community and exist as a place for people to engage in dialogue about how contemporary art can effect social change. Research in the museum studies field indicates that it is rare for cultural institutions to address homelessness through programming; and even less common to directly engage homeless persons or provide access to educational resources. However, by expanding the confines of traditional museum programming, it is possible to address matters of inequality and social justice more clearly and with greater impact.

Keywords: access; architecture; art; community; contemporary art; cultural institution; education; exhibition; design; inequality; photography; museum studies; homeless; public program; social change; social justice