Georgia Southern University Associate Professor of Geography, Amy Potter, Ph.D., has been awarded a $75,000 National Science Foundation grant for the project, “The Role of Museums in the Landscape of Minority Representation.”
The research will explore how African American history and culture are presented at African American history museums, and the team will then work with each museum’s staff to develop public engagement projects.
“This research will be among the first to survey the scope and breadth of how African American history and culture are presented at African American History Museums based on regional histories, ownership types and management philosophies at museums in four geographic regions across the United States,” Potter said. “By conducting fieldwork at museums in many states and cities, this project makes substantial strides to address this intellectual void.”
Part of the funds will be used to hire an undergraduate student who will travel to various museums and provide assistance in the overall research process. Potter said the project has added importance due to recent racial inequality protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This research has become especially urgent to document how local museums are responding to geographies of racism and racial violence in 2020, as well as how these often underfunded institutions are navigating the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” she said. “A study published this summer suggests that a third of all museums in the United States may not survive and reopen because of the financial impacts of COVID-19.”
Potter’s research is part of a larger multiuniversity collaboration, Tourism RESET (Race, Ethnicity and Social Equity in Tourism), which seeks to challenge prevalent social inequities in the tourism industry.