While history- and humanities-based exhibits are being developed and finalized for fabrication and installation, the Kansas City Museum is developing associated education and public programs for Corinthian Hall’s reopening in 2021. The education team includes Museum staff and the following educators and organizations: Blanca Anchondo-Polite and Lisa Middlebrook with Engage & Connect, LLC, Oralee McKinzy, Dr. Gene T. Chávez, UMKC’s Center for Neighborhoods, UNESCO Creative City-KC, The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City, and Arts & AGEing KC.
The approach to developing education and public programs flows from a restorative philosophy, which requires collaboration and inclusive community engagement for both inspiration and accountability and is vetted continuously by the client and its stakeholders. This restorative approach honors the Museum’s extensive physical, brick and mortar restoration to restore its history and carries that transformation forward to maximize the impact the Museum has on our City’s future.
The education team believes that in any relationship, it is critical to operate in partnership WITH someone, rather than doing things TO or FOR someone. Whether it is a personal relationship or a relationship between an organization/institution and its stakeholders, this authentically collaborative approach proves itself every time.
What are we doing?
The Kansas City Museum is developing education and public program using a restorative model. This means the team is focusing on a community-based approach and the relationships between and amongst the Museum and its diverse community.
The Museum recognizes that history has traditionally been told from one perspective, and the goal is to tell the whole story by engaging our community to capture the counter narratives–the stories that are often not told or explored.
With whom and by whom?
The education team is comprised of individual with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to engage our community for input and to collect stories, thereby expanding and deepening learning. The programs at the Museum will be for us and by us.
The education team is engaging in several processes to achieve this goal, including forming advisory groups and holding community engagement and input sessions so that programming is developed with, not for, the community.
We want you to consider your role in Kansas City’s history and the telling of it and your own story. Do you have stories to share, perspectives to highlight, artifacts to contribute?
And what do you mean by restorative?
A restorative approach is done WITH the community. It is participatory. It stands in contrast to an authoritative model. History in particular has been a political and academic pursuit. The narrator is the captor and the narration is rarely crafted by those who experienced it or were impacted by it. A restorative approach seeks out all perspectives to author the story together. It restores the truths in an event or time period; it validates all of the experiences and seeks to repair any harm done through that process. It is an approach that aims to heal and to create connection, understanding, unity, and solidarity so that we may more deeply and honestly know ourselves, our community, and our City.