A: Opportunities for Learning

There are expanded opportunities for learning from the Wabanaki people at the Museum, in the community, and virtually.


• Work with the Native Advisory Council and Board of Trustees to develop processes and protocols for public education on legal, policy, and social issues

• Develop resources and educational materials on core issues or questions related to decolonization for the general public and teachers

UPDATE: As we finalized the strategic plan in August 2015, it was clear that the Decolonization Task Force should evolve into a standing Decolonization Committee. Meeting bi-monthly, the Committee considers current museum practice and reccommends opportunities to develop decolonizing protocols. In October 2016 the Board of Trustees approved a Decolonization Policy and two protocols – governance and religious appropriation/spiritual practice. These become operational when the Native Advisory Council members concur; their next meeting is June 8, 2017.

A brief about our approach to decolonzing museum practices is regularly updated. Copies of this brief are available by contacting cinnamon@abbemuseum.org.  

• Actively support and contribute to professional development opportunities for the Museum and archaeology and anthropology communities regarding decolonization

UPDATE: Abbe staff members regularly attend and present at national conferences including the American Alliance of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. Topics include decolonizing museum practices, museums and social change, and musuem leadership. Beginning in July 2016, Abbe staff act as a consulting resource for other museums and historic sites looking to implement decolonizing museum practices. Plans are underway for the development of a comprehensive training strategy that will initially be funded through grant awards.

• Develop and support dialogue-based programming that considers difficult topics; support people as they engage in these conversations

UPDATE: We continue to develop and embed dialogic elements in our faciliation and program design. Throught 2016 we piloted programs including a daily tour for People of the First Light, encouraging visitors to dig deeper into the content and to share their thoughts and questions. This level of engagement creates lasting memories and learning that will, hopefully, inspire understanding and decision-making in the future. In 2017, the education team is taking the lessons learned from the 2016 trials and launching a newly-formed educational program. The Abbe calendar is filling up now with exciting programs for all ages.

• Overhaul web presence to be more responsive and better integrated with social media strategies

UPDATE: Throughout 2016 we have designed sites like this to promote events and in the winter of 2016/2017 we launched a new website and blog structure. Social media strategies continue to thrive, attracting new audiences daily.

• Complete new permanent exhibition that includes interpretive content accessible on personal devices

UPDATE: On May 1, 2016 People of the First Light opened with critical acclaim. Visitation is strong and donors express enthusiasm for the results. In future phases, regalia will be commissioned and installed (new pieces scheduled to arrive fall 2017), a few structural elements will be enhanced, new technologies will be explored, current digital content will be available on the web, and annual (possibly quicker) changes will be made to keep it fresh and current. To help us deliver content, a special blog was launched in late 2016.


• Restructure our public program series with a focus on Native-led programming and dialogue-based programs

• Make public programs more accessible virtually

• Create or contribute to a network of organizations working on decolonizing museum practice

• Develop plans for the use of the backyard to support programming

midsummer_logo_transparent-05UPDATE: On September 10, 2016 the Abbe hosted the Backyard Bash fundraiser to benefit museum operations. The event demonstrated effective and ineffective uses of the backyard and kickstarted planning for the space. On August 3, 2017 the gala and bash will merge into one as we produce the inaugural The Abbe Midsummer as a fundraiser for the museums operations, programs, and initiatives. 


• Expand the use of interpretive content accessible on personal devices throughout the facilities and for temporary exhibitions

• Increase education outreach to schools and teachers

• Develop a seasonal artist in residence program and secure studio space

• Create more satellite and virtual exhibits


When this goal is realized, the Abbe will be known as a decolonizing museum where increasing numbers of Native advisors and educators are engaged in the Abbe’s work.

Abbe Museum audiences will feel comfortable in the supportive environment created for dialogue in exhibitions and educational programs. And, audiences will connect with the Abbe in multiple ways – in Museum spaces; across the state and region in schools, libraries, and other public venues; and virtually.


B: Wabanaki Artists 〉