An exciting EmcArts/MetLife Innovation Lab grant brings together Levine Museum of the New South, Atlanta History Center and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in a multi-year project exploring the ‘Latino New South’. The southeastern U.S., home to few immigrants a generation ago, is now experiencing the nation’s fastest percentage growth in Latino newcomers. The three institutions will intensify partnership efforts with local Latino communities, aiming to get beyond “outreach” to instead achieve “engagement” in which Latino allies become full partners with museums in the work of community-building. What are the best ways to document this recent history? To make museums useful in citizenship and language programs? To help receiving communities know their new neighbors? To jointly create exhibits, events, social media, dialogues? We hope to find answers to these questions during our Listening Sessions held in each city this summer.
Each institution is paired up with a Latino partner to help facilitate interactions in the various Hispanic communities. For the Atlanta History Center, we are honored to work with Lino Dominguez, former publisher of MundoHispanico. This phase of the project, for the next year, is aimed at collecting Atlanta’s Hispanic stories as well as better understanding how the broader Atlanta communities interact and perceive Hispanics in Atlanta. Each city will hold a two-day Listening Session gathering input from Hispanic and non-Hispanic community members. During these two days the entire tri-city team will be on-site and out in the community, collecting and recording these stories.
About Innovation Lab for Museums
The American Association of Museums’ (AAM) Center for the Future of Museums (CFM), EmcArts and MetLife Foundation have launched a major new initiative designed to enable selected museums to design, research and prototype innovations, testing novel approaches to field-wide challenges in a laboratory-like setting.
The Innovation Lab for Museums is an 18 to 24-month program for each of the participating institutions, utilizing the expertise of CFM and the proven experience of EmcArts in incubating organizational innovations in the arts field. In this inaugural round of the Lab, three proposals have been accepted focusing on innovation in the realms of:
• Youth Education: exploring how museums can play a key role in a rapidly changing educational landscape
• Demographic Transformation: how museums can close this gap and serve a broader, more representative sample of American society
• Participatory Experiences: how museums can meet the desire of audiences for participatory and social activities in museums.