SMITHSONIAN Research Mission

USA, 25-30 August 2019

Belle and Co. spent 5 days in the USA, on a research mission to discover some best practices in the museum world under the auspices of the African Union’s Great Museum of Africa project. We interviewed over 14 respondents (directors, curators, fundraisers, exhibition designers, 3D specialists, digital directors, librarians, garden directors etc); toured numerous museums, libraries and back-office admin and storage buildings; as well as collected A LOT of physical materials.

The highlight of the mission was getting to deeply experience and understand what went into the making of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. A museum built on participatory collection practices, deeply connected to community and used as a space for social justice, healing and restorative justice – “A museum to make the ancestors smile”, Lonnie Bunch III, Museum Founding Director.