Engaging Community: Storytelling in Museums

From the storytelling session, Erwin McManus quote: "Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture."

Laura Callen of the Adoption Museum Project thinks that stories are more than their plotlines or narrative told from single POV; telling complexity is a matter of responsibility.

Callen also shares the framework of four (types of) truths from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience:

Forensic truth – what happened; Personal truth – personal recollection, memory; Social truth – collection of stories told publicly; Healing truth - elicits “never again” response - and a number of labels describing the same image from different points of view

Another great quote about storytelling: "What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens" – Rabih Allemadine

Elana Samuels of the Museum of Tolerance quoting Elie Wiesel:  "To listen to a witness is to become a witness" 

Samuels also discusses "Memory Reconstruction: A Sacred Culture Rebuilt" an installation of family collages based on the Periodic Table that is a collaboration between the Museum of Tolerance and The Human Element Project.

Amy Hill from the Center for Digital Storytelling on "Why Story?"
- offers a way to process our experiences
- links us with community and support
- provides us with valuable information
- connects us directy with our emotions
- inspires hope and resilience

Hill says that digital storytelling blends the meaningful nature of a story with the technology we’re all using. The ones they produce at the Center are often simple recorded voiceovers illustrated with still photos and a couple of video clips. Generally easy to produce and share.

The Center facilitates oral testimony and reflective writing approaches that elevate individual voices; uses group processes in community based workshop environments; pays careful attention to ethical consideration.

Their "7 Steps of Digital Storytelling":

Owning your insight, owning your emotions, finding the moment, sharing your story, seeing your story, hearing your story, assembling your story

She mentions two good case studies relevant to museums:  the Community Narratives project at the Mizel Museum and a project with staff of science and technology centers with the Noyce Leadership Institute.

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