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Application Deadline: Ethical Interpretation Workshop
The Museum’s Office of Strategic Partnerships is pleased to announce a call for applications for its signature Ethical Interpretation Workshop. This annual workshop provides technical training for museum professionals on interpretive theory and ethical practice. The program addresses histories of oppressed people whose experiences have been historically ignored and misrepresented and does so by recognizing their individuality, achievements, and challenges. Ethical Interpretation centers the critical importance of collaboration with the communities whose histories are being interpreted, and connects past, present, and future conditions for learners. Participants are equipped with tools and techniques to develop culturally responsive interpretation, and how to prepare themselves to engage in challenging discussions in a safe and sustainable way. Appropriate use of language and cultural frameworks, awareness of identity and self, and addressing audience responses are just some of the topics covered.
Over the course of the workshop, participants will engage in 40 hours of virtual learning sessions, peer-to-peer coaching, and community-building activities delivered through the Smithsonian edX and Zoom platforms. In addition to the virtual learning environment, participants will also engage in site visits to analyze the interpretation of African American history and culture utilized at a variety of cultural and historical sites in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA including Woodlawn Plantation, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, among others.
2023 Workshop Dates
Virtual Days: Monday May 15-Thursday, May 18, 2023
10 am to 2:30 pm EST daily
In-Person Days: Monday May 22-Thursday, May 25, 2023
9 am to 5 pm EST daily
The workshop will be held over the course of a two-week period. Participants should anticipate arriving in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, May 21, and departing the evening of Thursday, May 25, or on Friday, May 26.
The workshop is open to museum professionals in the United States and the Caribbean engaged in historical and cultural interpretation, or a closely related field, and committed to advancing the work and principles of ethical interpretation at their institutions and within the field at large.
- Eligibility requirements for participation are open to all museum professionals with at least 2 years of professional museum experience.
- Participants will need to have access to a device with Zoom capabilities and a reliable internet connection. We recommend that participants use a computer equipped with a microphone and webcam for full participation during virtual learning sessions.
- Smithsonian staff/current contractors are eligible to apply but preference will be given to staff from small to mid-sized museums and cultural centers, servicing underserved populations.
- Students strictly enrolled in full-time academic programs, without any affiliated and/or current museum work are not eligible to apply.
Tuition for the 2023 hybrid workshop is $1,500. This includes hotel accommodations at our host hotel for all non-DC residents, as well as the workshop itself (virtual and in-person days); workshop texts and course materials; admission and local transportation to all offsite excursions in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia; breakfast and lunch on program days while in the DC area, as well as a group dinner on the first night in Washington, DC.
Please note: Travel to/from Washington, DC is the responsibility of the participant as well as any other meals and incidentals not explicitly stated above.
Thanks to the generosity of program sponsors—National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Association of African American Museums (AAAM), Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC), and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF), there are a number of scholarships available that would additionally cover travel and hotel accommodations. See eligibility requirements below under each opportunity.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC):
Need-based scholarships open to all US and Caribbean applicants regardless of membership affiliation. Scholarship includes tuition assistance, hotel accommodations, and invitational travel to/from Washington, DC for non-DC residents. Smithsonian Institution employees are not eligible.
- Association of African American Museums (AAAM): Scholarship open exclusively to AAAM individual and institutional members. Must have an active membership to apply. Scholarship includes tuition assistance, hotel accommodations, and invitational travel to/from Washington, DC. AAAM board officers, committee members, and members of their families are not eligible.
- Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC): Scholarship open exclusively to SEMC individual and institutional members. Must have an active membership to apply. Scholarship includes tuition assistance, hotel accommodations, and invitational travel to/from Washington, DC. SEMC board officers, committee members, and members of their families are not eligible.
- African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF): Scholarship open exclusively to Action Fund awardees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Scholarship includes tuition assistance, hotel accommodations, and invitational travel to/from Washington, DC for non-DC residents.
How to Apply
The Museum’s Office of Strategic Partnerships is now accepting applications for the 2023 cohort. Please note that all application materials (and additional scholarship requests, if applicable) must be combined into one PDF File and uploaded through the online application portal below. Completed applications must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.
- Online application form
- Applicant resume or CV (3-page maximum)
- Letter of recommendation from immediate supervisor/director
- Statement of interest: Please share your interest in attending the interpretation workshop and how you and your institution will benefit from your attendance at the workshop (i.e. any special project(s) and/or workplace challenges you are hoping to address. 500-word maximum)
- Personal vision statement: Please share how you will apply newly acquired interpretation tools/skills at your institution and/or personal interpretation. (500-word maximum)
- Scholarship request (500-word maximum): Please include a scholarship request, detailing your estimated travel costs to attend the workshop if you wish to be considered for this additional support. (*OPTIONAL)