Identities: Understanding Islam in a Cross-Cultural Context

Hands of project team members with henna art.  Courtesy Richard Harker

Hands of “Identities” project team members with henna art. Courtesy Richard Harker

Identities resulted from two Museums Connect grants (2009-2010, 2011-2012), administered by the American Alliance of Museums and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, that partnered the Museum of History and Holocaust Education and the Ben M’sik Community Museum, Casablanca. Moroccan and American students, working in conjunction with museum staff, collected interviews, researched community histories, held public dialogues about perceptions of Islam (in Georgia) and the West (in Casablanca), and learned museum practices over the course of several years. Students traveled together in Morocco and the United States to explore each other’s history and culture and to begin sharing ideas for and building the Identities website that was to showcase their work.

I began as coordinator of the project in 2011 during the second grant cycle. I guided student work, managed travel to Morocco and Washington, D.C., and facilitated construction of the site using Omeka software.

The site features photography by students, transcripts of oral histories, community histories, and students’ own reflections on the project. Matt Scott, intern for the MHHE, helped to design the site. Zoila Torrres, graphic designer for the MHHE, designed the project logo with input from the student team.