Interpretations of the past need to properly balance stories of individuals and collective groups. For example, Mary Perth was an enslaved woman who joined the British during the American Revolution. However, Mary’s story is unique to her circumstance and her perspective of the world she lived in. Her story is not an indication of how all enslaved people reacted to the American Revolution. This is where the language of interpretation becomes highly important. With this example, guests should leave the experience understanding that enslaved people reacted in a myriad of ways, and Mary’s actions were just one of them.
We adhere to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s concept of four distinct notions of “truth” associated with any event of the past. This concept of multiple truths serves as a foundational approach to our work. In essence, this concept explains how facts, personal recollection, societal memory and healing are intertwined in an ongoing cycle. The “four truths” serve as our framework for understanding the past and making meaning to move towards individual and collective reconciliation.
Learning and Development
To be successful in an increasingly diverse society, employees of historical organizations must become cognizant in the dangers of stereotyping, the impact of personal bias and prejudices, the dynamics of differences, and insider-outsider dynamics. Much of this can be alleviated with greater diversity within the staff; therefore, diversification serves as an integral part of our solution building processes.
Constant and sustainable community engagement is vital to the longevity of historical and cultural organizations. With an active engagement strategy, communities will have greater trust and confidence in the organization, and the organization will understand the community’s needs to better serve them.
Collective Journeys is a museum consultancy that helps historical organizations create inclusive narratives and sustainable community relationships. We believe that museums and historic sites are the perfect venues for bringing together diverse people to begin the important process of reconciliation.
When we speak of reconciliation, we mean the ongoing process that involves resolve to change, justice, and forgiveness. Our society has had its fair share of challenges, and we must acknowledge that relationships and systems are broken.
A careful and critical exploration of the past gives us the ability to see each other’s stories in a new light, create new relationships, and break down the barriers that prevent a collective spirit where all members of civil society can flourish.
We value the collective energy that can flow from the differences that separate us. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, geography, or age, we believe that everyone comes to the table with unique gifts, and we are passionate about collecting and sharing those gifts that will ultimately convert fractured communities into restorative communities.
Good Ancestor T-Shirts
A Dakota Elder once asked the most contemplative question we have ever heard: "What kind of ancestor will you be?"
Because of him, and the work of many others across the globe, we want to inspire the world to consider the impact of our actions on the future.