Director's Blog

Director's Blog


Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - Monday, February 06, 2017

I used to live in a house with five other people who I didn’t know. We thought of ourselves as an intentional living community—a place where people from different backgrounds could live together, learn from each other and be a part of the diverse neighborhood in which we lived. Looking back, it definitely was one of the more unusual things that I’ve done and I can see now why my mother was a little terrified (even if the rent was affordable). Living in that house challenged me to really think about what it means to be a part of a community—a question I find myself constantly coming back to as director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

Our museum, which opened eight years ago, was built by the perseverance and dedication of a small group of people in Central Arkansas. Their vision was to preserve the Mosaic Templars of America building and to share with the state the rich history of African American’s in Arkansas. So from the beginning, this museum has always been a place about community. Yet, what do we mean when we talk about community? Who is our community?* As a state sponsored museum, the easy answer would be to say that our community is the entire state of Arkansas which is true, but in its broadness doesn’t capture our role and place within a community. In many ways, community is a difficult word to define for museums. In the same way that I am a part of a multitude of communities through my various identities and roles, an organization can also be a part of a variety of communities. The key is that we listen, ask questions, and explore. So, who’s your community?

*The Incluseum has developed a cool resource for conversation and reflection as we unpack the word community. We’ve found it helpful as a museum and you might too. You can find it here.

O'Halloran, Thomas J, photographer.[School integration. Barnard School, Washington, D.C. / TOH] . 1955. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed February 08, 2017.) 

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