Including immigrants: How art museums can bring together old and New Americans

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3 Scopus citations


This paper explores the challenges of creating inclusive educational programs within art museums, which have traditionally played a role in dividing rather than uniting society. As an example of how such a program could work, this paper presents a proposal developed by the author for the Harvard Art Museum, to bring together Latino immigrants preparing for the Citizenship exam and Harvard University Law students, who are learning legal Spanish to assist in their future legal practice. Through a series of workshops built around art in the Harvard Art Museum's collection, these two groups will learn more about each other's languages, cultures, and life experiences. The artworks will serve as a touchstone to share personal stories and discuss national cultures and histories. Students will learn to present their own personal stories inspired by the art in the museum, both in their own language, and in the language they are learning (English for the immigrants, Spanish for the law students). Aside from the interpersonal connections, which will go some way towards building bridges between immigrants and the young elite of the United States, this program will develop mutual understanding, mutual respect, and language skills that are highly beneficial for both groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of the Inclusive Museum
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Conservation
  • Museology


  • Art
  • Culture
  • History
  • Immigrant
  • Language
  • New Americans


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