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Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1310; doi:10.3390/su8121310

Fostering Cultures of Sustainability through Community-Engaged Museums: The History and Re-Emergence of Ecomuseums in Canada and the USA

1
Royal Saskatchewan Museum, 2340 Albert St, Regina, SK S4P 2V7, Canada
2
Department of Anthropology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Pkwy, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
3
WorldViews Consulting, 4 Earl St., Toronto, ON M4Y 1M3, Canada
4
Cultura Consulting, 1070 avenue Lajoie, porte 12, Outremont, PQ H2V 1N6, Canada
5
Department of Museum Studies, University of Toronto, 140 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5S 3G6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 6 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 December 2016 / Published: 13 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [193 KB, uploaded 13 December 2016]

Abstract

In recent decades, communities around the world have been reacting to the forces of globalization by re-focusing on the local, leading to the democratization of culture, heritage, and related concepts. By attempting to reconnect locals with their own sense of belonging, to reinvigorate a pride of place, and to foster wellbeing, communities have increasingly and successfully turned to features that make their local history, heritage, and environment unique or distinctive. In turn, democratization processes have led to sustainable forms of economic and community development through ecomuseums and other examples of community-engaged museums. This paper aims to deepen our understanding of relevant community-based culture and heritage initiatives by reflecting on the development of ecomuseums in Canada and the USA. As part of the larger museum community, ecomuseums tend to be accessible entities that are not affiliated with political or other convictions or viewpoints. This makes them uniquely positioned to foster creative change and adaptation aimed at sustainability, yet their evolution in North America has not been examined from this perspective. To address this gap, this paper will highlight the Haute-Beauce Ecomuseum in Québec and the Ak-Chin Him Dak Ecomuseum in Arizona, which have long histories as North American ecomuseums and represent two very different cultural and geographic contexts. We also reflect on the history of ecomuseums in Canada, and their recent emergence in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecomuseum; community engagement; sustainability; Haute-Beauce; Ak-Chin; democratization; heritage; museum; Canada; Saskatchewan ecomuseum; community engagement; sustainability; Haute-Beauce; Ak-Chin; democratization; heritage; museum; Canada; Saskatchewan
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sutter, G.C.; Sperlich, T.; Worts, D.; Rivard, R.; Teather, L. Fostering Cultures of Sustainability through Community-Engaged Museums: The History and Re-Emergence of Ecomuseums in Canada and the USA. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1310.

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