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Keywords:

  • collaboration;
  • visitor studies;
  • museum learning;
  • Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia

ABSTRACT

The goals of museum collaboration are several, among which is the social inclusion of marginalized communities. By pledging themselves to community-based collaboration, museums indicate their ongoing commitment to it as a form of social activism, reflecting their belief that its relevance extends beyond those immediately participating in the process. Such a belief implies the need for the visiting public to be a part of the process, a group that is frequently overlooked in discussions of collaboration. Yet, only where there is public recognition of community involvement at the museum can the full benefits of collaboration be realized. Using “A Partnership of Peoples,” a project of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, as a case study, this article suggests that visitors require the benefit of personal interactions to make meaningful their experiences of collaboration at the museum. Accordingly, museums need to develop strategies toward personally engaging visitors and facilitating their understanding of collaboration.