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University Students and Local Museums: Developing Effective Partnerships with Oral History

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Author(s): Jane Eva Baxter | Michael Steven Marshall

Journal: Partnerships : A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
ISSN 1944-1061

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 59;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: oral history | collaborative projects | community partnerships | course development

ABSTRACT
This is a descriptive paper that details the collaboration between a group of twenty-one DePaul University students and the Exhibitions Committee of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago (CAMOC) in the spring of 2010.  The students were all junior and senior Anthropology Majors participating in a course on applied-anthropology, or the applications of anthropological methods and perspectives outside of an academic setting.  CAMOC is a significant, volunteer-driven Chicago museum devoted to the collection, study, and exhibition of materials relating to the Chinese-Americans and Chinese-Canadians who settled in the regions between the coasts of these nations.  The museum first opened its doors in 2005, and in 2008 suffered a devastating fire resulting in the loss of most of the collections and exhibits.  DePaul students partnered with the Exhibitions Committee to collect, archive, and display oral histories of community members to assist in their rebuilding efforts.  The presentation of this particular project focusing on three significant ideas: (1) The importance of developing a project that can be brought to fruition in the course of a single collaborative episode, (2) The types of infrastructure that should be provided by the partners in such a collaboration, and (3) The necessity of creating a project that can simultaneously address the needs of a small museum and the educational goals for student participants.
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