Exploring “Paths to Partnership” between academic museums and libraries

Academic libraries and museums foster many outstanding collaborations supporting teaching, learning, and research within their respective institutions. These collaborations, like other progressive activities, require significant invisible labor, caretaking, and resources that have not always been documented.
A new publication from The American Library Association titled Cultural Heritage and the Campus Community: Academic Libraries and Museums in Collaboration collects examples of successful academic library-museum collaborations and serves as critical knowledge for the cultural heritage sector. In the book, authors from libraries and museums across the United States demonstrate how to develop and execute partnerships and bring forth new dimensions of transdisciplinary objects-based pedagogy, research, and learning centered on inclusive educational practices.

The Block museum is proud to be represented in this text in a chapter authored by Corinne Granof, Academic Curator at The Block. Granof’s chapter Paths to Partnership: New Models for Museum-Library Collaborations at Northwestern University considers collaborations between The Block Museum of Art and Northwestern University Libraries that have gone beyond the conventional borrower-lender relationship to foster partnerships and deeper dialogues between museum and library staff. Facilitating access to library collections through exhibitions, artist residencies, and archival-based projects, The Block Museum and University Library have aspired to work in partnership in order to bring new ways of thinking about specialized collections and to make them visible and accessible to broader audiences. 

 The collaborative approaches highlighted in the book demonstrate the power of possibility when two collections-centric entities unite to enrich our collective understanding of materiality, instructional approaches, and the importance of provenance. Cultural Heritage and the Campus Community also illustrates why interrogating past practices and value assignments within academic library and museum collections is essential to advancing culturally relevant approaches to knowledge sharing in physical and digital spaces. The text is edited by Alexia Hudson-Ward, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, and Scott Walter, and is available through the ALA Store.

Read the Chapter

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