In the past ten years, over fifty museums have closed in the United States. These have ranged from large history museums to medium-sized science centers to small niche museums. They were located in both urban, suburban, and rural areas. Fifty museums closing is a very small number compared to the 35,000 museums in the U.S. in 2014, but any museum closing is unfortunate.
This paper will cover the problems history museums are facing and introduce resilience as a goal for museums to work toward. Museums can make efforts to become more resilient by collaborating with other institutions and serving as an active partner in their community. Following are five case studies of successful museum collaborations and examples of what some museums are doing to serve their community. Next is an explanation of how social capital can be used to build and maintain collaborations. Finally, the paper will cover the factors leading to a successful collaboration and potential barriers to collaboration, along with a call for museum professionals to do more research on the topic of collaboration.
This paper was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Museum Studies.
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