Music in Museums


Meredith Holmgren (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)

This paper presentation reflects on the process of curating, narrating, and designing the Smithsonian exhibition Music HerStory: Women and Music of Social Change, open June 2022–February 2024 at the National Museum of American History. Collaboratively produced, the exhibition features rarely-displayed multimedia music collections from across the Smithsonian that are centered on women’s history and social change. This presentation will examine the processes, rewards and challenges, of curating these music collections for public audiences. From enthusiastic collaborations to exposing inclusivity gaps in our national collections, there are many lessons that can be learned from this experience and applied to future exhibition projects in folk and traditional arts.

Part of 05-03 New Engagements with Museums and Monuments [hybrid], Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm