Department Chair

Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D. Professor and Chair

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Museum Studies, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Cynthia A. Conides

Department Home page

First Reader

Cynthia A. Conides

Second Reader

Noelle J. Wiedemer


Museums have undergone a transformation over the course of their existence, shifting from inwardly-focused private collections to organizations working to represent and advocate for the diversity of human existence. While professionals in the field have become increasingly aware of the importance of expanding beyond traditional audiences, there is little consensus about the best methods of achieving this goal. This thesis proposes one potential solution, the creation of a staff position dedicated to engaging members of the museum’s surrounding community through relationship-building. After a brief exploration of the history of the museum field, this paper delves into the benefits of developing genuine, trusting relationships between museums and community members and explores how creating this staff position will assist museums in becoming more inclusive.