As U.S. museums evolve from their role as elite institutions to organizations serving multiple stakeholders, they must adopt new communication practices to meet their social missions and organizational goals. Engaging Diverse Communities, the first book-length study of museum public relations for practitioners since 1983, details how institutions can use communication fundamentals to establish and maintain relationships with a wide range of cultural groups and constituencies.
Melissa A. Johnson interviews communicators at cultural heritage museums to understand the challenges of representing communities based on racial and ethnic, generational, immigrant, and language identities. Exploring how communications professionals function as cultural intermediaries by negotiating competing and intersecting identities and mastering linguistic and visual code-switching, she presents an analysis of the communication tactics of more than two hundred art, history, African American, American Indian, and other diverse museums. Engaging Diverse Communities illuminates best public relations practices, especially in media relations, digital press relations, website content production, social media, and event planning. This essential text for museum professionals also addresses visual aesthetics, cultural expression, and counter-stereotypes, and offers guidance on how to communicate cultural attractiveness.