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Survivance Stories, Co-Creation, and a Participatory Model at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center

  • Kimberly Kasper (a1) and Russell G. Handsman (a2)
Abstract

Since opening its doors in 1998, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center (MPMRC) has had an identity as both a tribal center and a museum committed to challenging the public’s conventional understandings of Native history in New England. Over a 15-year period, museum staff and the tribal community learned to work more collaboratively in an effort to document and illuminate Pequot survivance—the histories of Mashantucket families living and working in and against the modern world. A review of recent museum projects clarifies the benefits of collaboration while revealing how new exhibits and programs are impacting visitor experiences and understandings. Another kind of museum space is envisioned in which visitors, staff, and tribal members actively co-create exhibits and programs centered on Pequot survivance, using content informed by ongoing archaeological studies. In that space, co-creation practices would encourage social interaction—a collaborative pushing-and-pulling of ideas and stories in a shared search for new understandings of survivance at Mashantucket and beyond.

Desde su apertura en 1998, el centro de investigaciones y museo Mashantucket Pequot (MPMRC) se ha identificado como un centro comunitario y museo comprometido a desafiar la visión convencional de la historia de los pueblos originarios de New England. En los últimos 15 años el personal del museo y la comunidad originaria han aprendido a trabajar en estrecha colaboración, en un esfuerzo por documentar y traer a la luz la experiencia Pequot—las historias de las familias Mashantucket que residen y trabajan por y en contra de un mundo moderno. Una revisión de los proyectos recientes del museo muestran los beneficios de la colaboración, al mismo tiempo que ilustran como las nuevas exhibiciones y programas tienen un impacto en las experiencias y conocimientos del visitante. Dentro del museo se ha visualizado otro espacio en el que los visitantes, el personal del museo y los miembros de los pueblos originarios de la zona puedan constantemente crear de forma conjunta exhibiciones y programas centrados en la experiencia Pequot, mediante el uso de contenidos generados por los estudios arqueológicos en curso. En ese espacio, las prácticas de creación en colaboración alentarían la interacción social— una colaboración dinámica y generadora de ideas e historias en una búsqueda compartida de nuevos entendimientos en torno a Mashantucket y mas allá de.

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Advances in Archaeological Practice
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