Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
College of Human Sciences and Education
Children begin to develop self-awareness and awareness of others at an early age (Marion, 2011). Before they reach kindergarten, children begin to make distinctions about race by noticing similarities and differences between themselves and others (Winkler, 2009). Exposing young children to diversity can help each child embrace their identity, accept and celebrate differences, and be accepting of themselves and others (Cole & Verwayne, 2018).
The purpose of this study is to explore how children’s museums support diversity through their programs and planning. The research of this study focuses on four children’s museums located in the United States. There are many stories to be told regarding the experiences of people of color, showing a need for inquiry into how race and ethnicity impacts administrators, staff employees, and patrons, and how their views and experiences are incorporated in children’s museums’ efforts to promote diversity and learning.
A sequential explanatory mixed methods approach was used in this study. Drawing on the Sociocultural and Critical Race theories, this study begins by gaining insight on children’s museums administrators’ and staff employees’ general feelings on how well they are doing in supporting diversity, then proceeds to gaining more subjective views on the issue. This study examined factors such as attitudes, beliefs, and practices that will be measured through surveys, vignettes, and interviews, and from the Anti-Bias Education Classroom Quality Measure (Gaias, 2015). A website review checklist was designed using the tenets of Critical Race Theory and conducted on various children’s museums in the United States to see how they are used to promote and support diversity. Following the methodology is the reporting of the findings of the study, discussion of findings, limitations, implications for practice, and recommendations. The goal is to see how children’s museums administrators and staff promote diversity within children’s museums.
Smith, Amber Nicole, "Understanding Children's Museums' Approaches to Diversity: A Critical and Socio-Cultural Investigation" (2022). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 5897.