The importance of being relevent : understanding the complex connections between museum and community
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Like many of America’s house museums, Mount Clare, the 18th-century Baltimore plantation home of Charles Carroll, struggles to maintain relevance, sustain its mission and remain financially sound. More recently formed museums, such as the Tenement Museum of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, have begun to recognize their capacity as platforms for dialogue and social justice and the necessity of engaging their local communities, providing a useful model for Mount Clare Museum House. Engaging with its southwest Baltimore community would enable Mount Clare to fully support an educational mission that resonates with the local population, while preserving the role of the historic site. The purpose of this paper is to explore Mount Clare Museum House in terms of its relevance to various levels of community. This will be accomplished by examining Mount Clare’s governing boards and mission statement, by considering its interpretation and outreach programming, by researching community opinion, and by comparing it to aspects of the Tenement Museum. The intention is to create a better understanding of why past attempts to broaden Mount Clare’s interpretive scope have failed, to help the museum move forward in reaching out to the community, and to reflect on the public it seeks to educate.
This document has had referenced material removed in respect for the owner's copyright. A complete version of this document, which includes said referenced material, resides in the University of Maryland, College Park's library collection. Masters final project submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Historic Preservation. HISP 710/711 Spring 2010.