In Carol Lynn Alpert’s article “The Research Communication Continuum: Linking Public Engagement Skills to the Advancement of Cross-disciplinary Research,” Alpert challenges the one-directional model of museum-university partnerships and makes a case for mutually beneficial and strategic collaborations.
In a one-directional model, for example, scholarship comes from the academy to the museum where it’s then presented through storyline, objects and experience for public consumption. In her article, Alpert describes a project at the Museum of Science, Boston where benefits flow back to the academy from museum practice. Specifically, museum educators—whose “domain expertise” lies in communication techniques and interpreting scholarly knowledge to broader audiences—brought skills and training to research scientists that they could apply to cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration.
The aim of this Reader Guide is to provide open-ended questions for personal reflection, to guide thinking towards action, and how one might approach a multi-directional partnership between museums and universities. We had the opportunity to work with the author to think about what might be some of the key “ingredients,” tools and mindset needed for a mutually beneficial and strategic collaboration.