Many museums and historic sites pride themselves on telling inclusive stories about the histories of the people in the communities they serve. Institutions often collaborate with groups within those communities to create better exhibitions and programming. But, when there is a long history of exclusion and disenfranchisement within the museum framework, as is the case for the numerous Native nations and First Nations tribes of North America, how can cultural institutions make efforts to have better relationships with these historically under-served communities? In today’s world, how can we provide space for and elevation to the voices of those who have been historically silenced?

The Interpreting Native American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites webinar will provide strategies for engaging with Native Americans beyond the legal framework of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), in order to work collaboratively, share authority, and incorporate multiple ways of knowing about the past into all interpretation about Native people, objects, histories, and cultures. Raney Bench will provide insight and methods on how best to purposefully work to incorporate the history, culture, and perspectives of indigenous peoples into your institutions’ interpretative programming.

About the Speaker

Raney Bench is the Executive Director of the Seal Cove Automotive Museum in Seal Cove, Maine. Raney Bench has a Bachelors of Art in Native American Studies and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies. She has worked with Native communities and small museums throughout the United States for almost 20 years. Raney is the author of Interpreting Native American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites, published by AASLH in 2014.

Additional Resources:

Playing Ourselves: Interpreting Native Histories at Historic Reconstructions by Laura Peers

History News Excerpt: “You Can’t Write My History” by Tim Grove

Plenary Address, 2010 AASLH/OMA Annual Meeting by Gerard Baker (Mandan-Hidatsa)