Mississippian earns full scholarship to participate in Smithsonian workshop

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Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Program Manager Wayne Dowdy has been accepted to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s (NMAAHC) annual Ethical Interpretation Workshop.

The workshop provides technical training to cultural heritage and museum professionals on interpretive theory and ethical practice.

Ethical interpretation is described as a practice that “centers the critical importance of collaboration with the communities whose histories are being interpreted, and connects past, present, and future conditions for learners.”

“In my application, I wrote about the history of divestment from inclusive, historically accurate public cultural heritage interpretation,” Dowdy said. “Ethical interpretation program planning asks not just what story is being told, but also how it’s told, who is doing the telling, and who is benefiting. The NMAAHC is on the cutting edge of that kind of work, and I’m really excited to learn from them and from this cohort.”

Dowdy’s application also won him a Smithsonian scholarship that covers full tuition and travel costs for the workshop. The scholarship was awarded on a competitive basis.

Over the course of two weeks in May, Dowdy will participate in one virtual session and one in-person session in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Rolando Herts, executive director of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, recommended Dowdy for the workshop. Herts is a 2017 workshop alumnus.

“We look forward to absorbing the lessons that Wayne will bring back with him from this experience,” Herts said. “We anticipate that the Smithsonian’s resources will help to enhance our cultural heritage interpretation programs that empower community-engaged storytelling in the Mississippi Delta.”

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