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. The committee convened in the spring of 2016 and launched two subcomittees – governance and religion. Their recommendations will be shared at the October 2016 board of trustees meeting for review and possible approval. A brief about our approach to decolonzing museum practices was 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. On July 5, 2016, we began daily conversations at 2:00 in 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. 

• 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 fall/winter of 2016/2017 we will begin overhauling our entire web presence. 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, 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. 


• 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

backyardbash_EMAILSIG-03UPDATE: On September 10, 2016 the Abbe will host the Backyard Bash fundraiser to benefit museum operations. The event will demonstrate effective and ineffective uses of the backyard and will kickstart planning for the space. 


• 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 〉