The Center for Restorative History currently supports eight projects in four thematic areas: Community Engagement, Collections, Strategic Partnerships, and Engaged Scholarship. With each project, we expose silenced truths, redefine notions of belonging, transform our institution to be more accountable, and get closer to addressing harms, past and present.
Reckoning with Remembrance
Reckoning with Remembrance: History, Injustice, and the Murder of Emmett Till highlighted a community’s efforts to preserve Emmett Till’s memory in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, and to fight anti-Black violence. Learn how a Till historical marker defaced by 317 bullet holes speaks to an ongoing battle in the United States over what histories are remembered or suppressed.
Undocumented Organizing Collecting Initiative
The Undocumented Organizing project is a three-year collecting initiative, from July 2019 to December 2022, dedicated to chronicling undocumented organizing across six sites: North Carolina, California, Nebraska, Chicago, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C. In close collaboration with undocumented organizers, this project collects objects and oral histories to chronicle a signature moment in American history. Learn more about how people without citizenship or voting rights are changing the nation.
GPEP Alumni Internship
The Goucher College Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) Alumni Internship Program is the only program of its kind in the country. This landmark internship program is a model for creating equitable access for communities historically excluded from the museum field. Specifically designed for and by formerly incarcerated GPEP scholars, the program provides interns an opportunity to gain professional experience through museum placements that support their future careers. Learn more about this program and our intern cohort.
Nation of Sanctuary
Nation of Sanctuary explores the history of refugees in the United States from the Colonial period to the present with a focus on Asian/Pacific American, African American, Latinx, Native American, and white refugee and asylee communities. Learn how experiences of dispossession, displacement, migration, and climate change, among other issues, have shaped past and contemporary understandings of what it means to be a refugee.
Movement for Black Lives Collecting Initiative
The Movement for Black Lives Collecting Initiative is a collaboration between the Center for Restorative History and Movement for Black Lives activists to preserve the history of Black political organizing from 2012 onward. The collecting initiative will center the documentation of Black life, Black organizing, Black cultural production, and Black protest. Learn how this initiative will work with activists to cement the movement’s place in the historical record using material culture and firsthand accounts.
African American Collections Inventory
The African American Collections Inventory is an ongoing reclassification project of the museum’s Black political history holdings. It aims to make these objects accessible for research, rehousing, digitization, and exhibition. Critically examining how we store, tag, and use these objects will help us redress inaccuracies in the historical record and highlight African American history in our national collection.
Research and Action Team
The Research and Action team is devoted to creating a new theory and method for museum practice, grounded in the principles of restorative justice. With the goal of co-creating national histories in partnership with communities that have experienced historical harm, this team generates best practices for community engagement, ethical collecting, mutual capacity-building, and co-curation. Read more about our research and methodology.
Decolonization Working Group
The Decolonization Working Group researches best practices for changing museum systems rooted in colonialism. This includes structurally reforming the ways the museum collects, catalogues, repatriates, and exhibits in order to dismantle colonial legacies and forge new relationships with impacted communities.