Community Art Ownership: Do Local Heritage Museums Enhance Civic and Economic Implications?
CitationTyack, Karlmico. 2018. Community Art Ownership: Do Local Heritage Museums Enhance Civic and Economic Implications?. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractInspired by the art repatriation disputes that account for countless political rows between nations, this study asks: Are there civic and economic implications when a community owns their own heritage art objects? While many studies advocating for repatriation focus on the symbolism behind the art object’s “journey home,” there is a deficit in studies that elucidate quantifiable implications that emerge when a community owns their own heritage art objects. Museums display art objects; therefore, presence of a local heritage art museum is used as the establishmentarian expression of a given community’s ownership of their cultural art objects. Two approaches were used, one quantitative and one qualitative.
First, using a data set of 324 randomly selected American towns in New England and New Jersey, a regression analysis was performed to find a correlation between the establishment of a local heritage art museum (X) and civic participation as well as economic participation, their proxy measures being voter turnout (Y) and presence of small businesses (Y) respectively. The presence of a museum strengthened the correlation between common sense independent variables and voter turnout (from 42.8% to 54.9%), with a strong statistical significance (99.9% probability that the results did not come about by chance). The presence of museums had no such effect on the presence of small businesses.
Then, a process-tracing comparison of two towns (Dover and Bedford, Massachusetts) further corroborates that museums positively impact voter turnout. These results may also support studies cited in the literature review positing that the importance of a museum’s social impact is tantamount to its economic impact and should be considered by curators, funding bodies, and the community at large. However, it is likely that other qualitative differences between the cases are more consequential than the establishment of museums.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004049