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Power Station

Nov 30, 2020

We know how nonprofits make change. They provide services, teach people how to organize and use those capacities to get legislation passed. Can cultural institutions also make change? In the case of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the answer is yes. While the experience of changemaking may be more personal at a museum, the same strategies are needed to be successful. It starts with a mission to amplify the voices of communities that are too often unheard. And it is powered by a governance structure that includes and is accountable to its constituency. In both cases, they meet members/visitors where they are and hope they carry what they learn forward. As NMAI's incomparable curator Paul Chaat Smith explains, the museum is about deepening awareness, not promoting cultural tourism. A Comanche author, essayist and curator, Paul walks us through Americans, the powerful exhibit he co-curated with Cécile Ganteaume, to explore how Indian imagery is embedded in virtually every area of American life. Listen to Paul and visit NMAI online until the doors are open to us all again.