This letter has given me the opportunity to pause and reflect on what seminal Black feminist educator, author, and activist bell hooks described as “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (hooks, 2004, 17), the interlocking systems of oppression that are exposed most clearly during historical and contemporary events involving settler colonialism, genocide, and resource extraction. When our consciousness is raised to these systems and our humanity is tested by these events, what is the role of museum educators in advancing peace, justice, and liberation? How is this work possible within museums – institutions that are inextricably linked to colonial violence and dehumanizing narratives? What is the role of the Museum Education Roundtable (MER) as a knowledge-producing organization and a community of practice for museum educators? How do we put knowledge in action?
These are essential questions to consider and act upon thoughtfully. As we near the end of the Journal of Museum Education’s 50th anniversary, a look back at the JME’s rich archive of museum education scholarship, trends, and critical issues demonstrates how scholars and practitioners have engaged, examined, and advocated for the active role of museum education in addressing broader societal issues. Looking forward to the next fifty years, the JME will continue to be a platform to support critical, reflexive, and innovative theories and praxis from current and future generations of professionals. Our final issue of the year, 48.4, clearly demonstrates this by honoring the JME’s 50th anniversary with reflective and forward-thinking articles examining the relationships that form the basis of our work as museum educators.
In 2024, MER will continue to enact its professional responsibility to address interlocking systems of oppression and their role in museum education, and to model as an organization the reflexive approach required for demonstrative change in this field. MER will continue cultivating a community of practice committed to learning and unlearning with humility, and supporting challenging and thought-provoking dialogue that moves the field forward. I strongly encourage you to join us in this work by:
- Becoming a member of MER to access the JME and other benefits
- Gifting a membership to support current and future professionals
- Contributing as a writer, guest editor, or peer reviewer of the JME and the Museum Visions Blog
- Applying to serve on our Board of Directors or to work as contracted staff
- Engaging in conversation on our Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and Facebook platforms
- Subscribing to the MER Newsletter
I am incredibly honored to do this work alongside the entire Board of Directors including fellow officers Adria Brown and Andrea Kim Neighbors as Co-Vice Presidents; Rebecca Ljungren, Marta Torres, and Susan Jama as Co-Treasurers; and Hazel Theriault as Secretary; as well as contracted staff Nathaniel Prottas and Michelle Moon as Co-Editors; Liz Baidoo as our new Communications Manager, and Emma Trone as our new Operations Manager. Please share your insights and questions about MER by contacting me at [email protected].
Wendy Ng serves as President of the Museum Education Roundtable Board of Directors. She is the principal owner and consultant at Twin Muses Consulting Services and a PhD student in the Curriculum and Pedagogy program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Her doctoral research focuses on Indigenous and racialized educators, decolonial and anti-colonial pedagogies of solidarity, and challenging institutional power dynamics and settler colonialism.
hooks, bell. 2004. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love. New York: Atria Books.