Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum
The CCMM-in-SCHOOLS program brings a pop-up world cultures museum directly to students in their own schools, free of charge to participating public schools. In the 2020-2021 school year, CCMM aims to serve at least 32 school communities, as many as 50. Funds will be used for program-related costs, including installation and removal of the exhibition, educator-docents who lead students through an educational presentation, materials for hands-on learning, and community Open Houses, which will open the museum to participating schools’ communities.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum’s mission is to inspire understanding and respect for cultural diversity by exploring global arts and artifacts. CCMM’s pop-up cultural museum brings “the world” to middle school students and their families, highlighting the universality of the human experience.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- San Fernando Valley
- South LA
- South Bay
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
Boasting one of the most diverse populations in the country, Los Angeles has a critical need for cultural awareness and understanding. However, many students and their families remain isolated in their own cultural enclaves. These communities face unparalleled diversity without adequate exposure to and understanding of the beliefs and practices of “others”.
CCMM was founded to bring the bigger world directly to LA schools. Imagine students visiting a museum in their own schools filled with hundreds of objects from more than 75 countries and dozens of cultures. During their visit, CCMM docents give students a constructive framework in which to explore the objects and their cultural importance and context. One CCMM docent writes, “My work is a way to fight the idea that ‘different’ means ‘wrong.’” Next, imagine these students guiding their families through the museum at a festive Open House, open to the schools’ communities, celebrating their own and other cultures.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
CCMM has served LA-area middle schools since 1995, incorporating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2011. CCMM has served 150,000+ students in schools in five school districts and 6 out of 8 Los Angeles County’s Service Planning Areas.
CCMM can easily expand the number of schools it visits, having already amassed a collection of 3,500+ objects from 75+ countries, curated to highlight similarities between disparate cultural identities. And, CCMM has established an active cadre of retired history teacher docents who, having participated with their own classes, guide students through the collections, drawing comparisons and contrasts between objects and cultures.
CCMM has held community Open Houses at some participating schools, with great success. Additional schools, including principals, teachers, and parent groups, are eager to involve their communities in events at their schools, and CCMM is committed to providing this enhancing experience at as many schools as possible.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
CCMM’s docents ask at every presentation: “How many of your grandparents were born in a country outside of the U.S.?” Often most students – and teachers - raise their hands. This simple exercise, along with the docent’s presentation, prepares students to recognize and appreciate their own, and other, cultural traditions. Currently, over 25,000 students benefit from this program annually, as do their teachers and other school staff. Parents and students tell CCMM about stories students bring home after their participation with CCMM, objects and traditions they recognized from their own cultures or new things they learned about other peoples. Additional Open Houses will extend this impact directly to hundreds, if not thousands, of Angelenos.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
CCMM measures its outputs, tracking the number of schools it visits each year and the approximate number of students it serves. After their experience with CCMM, a portion of students complete questionnaires to assess the extent to which CCMM has enhanced their classroom learning and made them feel more understanding and respectful of cultural diversity, among other measures.
Teacher evaluations ask for teachers to gauge CCMM’s relevance to classroom learning and overall program effectiveness. Teachers are also asked to appraise, through their observations, the extent to which CCMM promotes understanding and acceptance of diversity. CCMM will be successful if all teachers’ evaluations are variations on this theme:
“Any exposure to outside cultures is beneficial. I feel the students are more accepting the more they know. This program allows them to travel the world without leaving our main building. It is essential that you continue to do this and give students an opportunity to see things they may never have a chance to visit.”
Extending Open Houses into more schools, if successful, would attract more students and their families, giving students an opportunity to act as docents and guides, showing what they learned and found important. CCMM would track attendance and conduct periodic interviews to gauge impact.
Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?
- Arts establishments, instillations, and exhibitions
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the best place to CONNECT
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support
- Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
- Capacity, including staff
- Strategy assistance and implementation
Convergence Creative Solutions
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Convergence will build an online community around the LA 2050 goals of LEARN, CREATE, PLAY, CONNECT, and LIVE. We will host virtual summits centered around each individual goal to organically build community initiatives. We will use technology to give Angelenos a method to integrate these initiatives into their daily lives. We’ll end the year with a live festival celebration of Los Angeles culture at a local park featuring local artists, small businesses, food-trucks, and cross-generational activities.
Community Vitalization Council
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