KSU history museum receives $78,000 grant to expand Morocco project

KSU and Hassan II Students.jpg

KSU history and Holocaust museum receives $78,000 grant to expand museum work in Morocco Project…

Georgia (Sep 8, 2011)KSU history and Holocaust museum receives $78,000 grant to expand museum work in Morocco

Project aims to dispel misinformation, negative stereotypes about the Muslim world

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 8, 2011)  —–  Kennesaw State University’s Museum of History and Holocaust Education will expand a cultural exchange with Casablanca, Morocco, thanks to a $65,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the American Association of Museums. Following the initial distribution of grant funds, the museum received an additional $13,000. The Museum of History and Holocaust Education is one of only two institutions to receive the grant renewal as part of the Department of State’s Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA) program.

Catherine Lewis,  executive director of the Department of Museums, Archives & Rare Books and a professor of history, said the new grant will finance a project titled “Identities: Understanding Islam in a Cross-Cultural Context.”

“This grant will allow us to carry out Kennesaw State’s mission of making students global citizens,” Lewis said. “We will deepen existing relationships, explore the diversity of Muslim culture locally and abroad, and work to dispel misinformation and negative stereotypes about the Muslim world.”

KSU has already accomplished much in Casablanca. In 2009, the university used a grant to compile oral histories, produce a documentary and create the Ben M’sik Community Museum, the first community museum in Morocco.

With the new grant, the KSU museum plans to:

—Create an online exhibit on immigrant identity, the practice of Islam in various cultures and communities, and common stereotypes and misperceptions about Islam. The exhibit will be completed by the KSU and Moroccan delegations –– faculty, students, staff and community liaisons.

—Send the KSU and Morocco delegations to Washington, D.C., for one week in October to meet with officials from the State Department and the American Association of Museums.

—Send the KSU delegation to Morocco for one week in February 2012 to refine the online exhibition’s content and to conduct an open house for community members.

—Hold community focus groups to provide support and content for the online exhibition and to appoint experienced community liaisons. The project teams from KSU and Morocco will also conduct two workshops via Skype to discuss the online exhibition.

Only a handful of American universities engage in this kind of diplomacy. In 2009, the Museum of History and Holocaust Education was one of five institutions awarded a prestigious Museums and Community Collaboration Abroad (MCCA) grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the American Association of Museums. That grant was for $72,000 and was supplemented by KSU.

Creating the Ben M’sik Community Museum, the first community museum in Morocco, was a major accomplishment.

The Casablanca museum documents the day-to-day lives of local people — their customs, traditions, language, transportation, cuisine, dress, art and stories — as well as the community’s architecture, migration and personalities. It was the first of its kind among Morocco’s 14 public museums, none of which is located in Casablanca.

The 2009 grant grew out of a 2005 partnership between KSU and Hassan II University in Casablanca‚ Morocco. The first exchanges involved various academic departments‚ including American studies and foreign languages‚ and in 2007 expanded to include museums.

The 2009 grant also was used to create a documentary, “Creating Community Collaboration;” publish a book, “Crossing Borders: A Transatlantic Collaboration,” compiled and edited by Lewis, Jennifer Dickey and professor Samir El Azhar; and launch a website, https://commons.kennesaw.edu/mcca/. The online exhibition and the documentary will be linked to this website at a date to be determined.

“These two institutions have already done great work, bolstering the impact of MCCA in Georgia and in Morocco, and this continuing grant is indicative of their success,” said American Association of Museums  president Ford W. Bell. “MCCA is all about building cultural bridges, and this new project will go far toward doing exactly that, furthering the mission of these museums and museums everywhere  ––  namely education and enlightenment.”

 



 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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