Conversations about . . . Museums and Community

Elaine Gurian, Senior Museum Consultant, and UM Professor of History of Art and Director of the Museum Studies Program, Raymond Silverman, engage in a conversation about museums and community, Winter 2006.

Our featured guest, Senior Museum Consultant, Elaine Heumann Gurian, is one of the museum profession’s most innovative thinkers, a person who has brought a great deal of critical and creative thinking to the practice of working in museums, one of a few visionaries in the field who occasionally steps back and writes on big issues concerning the museum and its role in society. As an independent consultant-advisor, Elaine Heumann Gurian has worked with many museums in a career now entering its fourth decade. Recent clients include the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, Mystic Seaport, the Barnes Foundation, and the National Archives of Guatemala. She is also well known as first Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the United States Holocaust Museum.

Elaine Heumann Gurian will be interviewed by Dr. Raymond A. Silverman, Director of the University of Michigan Museum Studies Program. Dr. Silverman also holds appointments as Professor in the Department of the History of Art and in the Center for African and Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Museum Studies program and the Office of the Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts


In 2002, Raymond Silverman joined the faculty at the University of Michigan where he is Professor of History of Art and Afroamerican & African Studies, and serves as Director of the Museum Studies Program. Silverman’s research and writing has examined a variety of subjects concerning the movement of material/visual tradition through time and space in Africa, particularly in Ghana and Ethiopia. Most recently he has been exploring “museum culture” in Africa, specifically how local knowledge is translated in national and community-based cultural institutions. In addition to teaching courses in African art history and museum studies, he has curated a number of exhibitions dealing with various aspects of African visual culture.

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