Date of Graduation

Fall 12-14-2018

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Museum Studies

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Museum Studies

First Advisor

Stephanie A. Brown

Second Advisor

Fraidy Aber

Abstract

The U.S. population is becoming more ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the U.S. will shift to a majority-minority population, meaning that the total minority population will become the majority of the U.S. population. But while the U.S. is diversifying, the current museum visitorship demographic is not representative of or on track to measure up to these changes in the future. If museums are valuable civic spaces with several associated health, social, and educational benefits, and a large percentage of the population have low-English proficiency and cannot access the information, then there is a large percentage of potential museum visitors that are being denied the opportunity to a significant cultural activity. One way museums can break down linguistic barriers is to provide bilingual and multilingual exhibitions. The creation of these translated exhibitions not only give low-English proficiency individuals the opportunity to create meaningful experiences in a museum, it also purposefully welcomes them into a space that has been historically inaccessible to them. While research and evaluation are currently being conducted in many science and children’s museums, little is being done in art museums. This capstone proposes the creation of a set of guidelines to be utilized by contemporary art museums in the United States in order to increase linguistic diversity by creating bilingual and multilingual exhibitions.

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