This post is a part of the AAHC Forum. In the coming months we will invite current and past grantees to contribute their project experiences via blog posts on our UpNext Blog and then ask you to respond through the AAHC Virtual Forum. We hope you will add your voice and share your needs and opinions so that AAHC can continue to help African American museums thrive. Please visit the AAHC forum to continue the conversation.
Introduction: The Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center was awarded a 2012 Museum Grant for African American History and Culture to support a curriculum and certification program for community college students, intended to increase professional knowledge and skills. The museum will work in partnership with the Workforce Development Program at Prince George’s Community College to create a Museum Africana Studies Curriculum Model to share with other community colleges.
By Arvenita Washington Cherry, Ph.D.
History Keepers Program Coordinator, Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center
Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) and Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) have partnered to develop an entry-level museum studies internship project called “History Keepers.” Funded by an IMLS Museum Grant for African American History and Culture, the project is designed to inspire, recruit, place, train, and supervise PGCC students to help them learn about and pursue careers in museum Africana studies. Students will learn about documenting, interpreting, presenting, and preserving African American history and culture. PGCC exists to educate, train, and serve a diverse population through accessible, affordable, and rigorous learning experiences. The partnership established in this grant will create a pipeline of students who can begin their careers in museum sciences and learn skills so they can provide invaluable knowledge to the members of our community.
One of the most interesting things about this program is that the internship allows for a diverse pool of applicants who range from new students to career change students who are interested in museum studies with an Africana focus. Our first cohort of interns depicts this range.
A component of the internship experience is to attend field trips to other museums and cultural spaces to get a sense of their importance, history, and relevance to a space like PGAAMMCC. The interns are also getting exposed to various museums that may be potential sites for a career pipeline. The interns visited the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. Because our interns are all at different points in their college and professional careers, we didn’t know how they would like this field trip experience. Interestingly enough, all enjoyed the experience and shared different perspectives as to why field trips to other institutions are important to this internship program and to Africana Museum Studies more broadly. The interns got to interface with museum staff, ask questions, and share ideas and feedback about the current exhibit, using some of the skills they learned from PGAAMCC. And best of all, they said they had fun!