Rural community museums and the effects of globalization
Reel, Megan Elizabeth
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The effects of globalizing processes on small, rural, community museums located in West Texas are considered. Small, rural, community museums represent a common, but less studied, museum type within the U.S. Four museums linked by their location within the Texas Plains Trail region are selected as a case study for analysis. A combination of interviews, textual analysis, and site visits are utilized to evaluate these museums. A grounded theory methodology approach is applied to provide structure in analysis. Ultimately, a core category of Saving a Heritage is proposed based on a grounded theory analysis. This core category reflects a desire to preserve a heritage that could be lost due to population change, the importance of community and local values, a strong focus on local heritage, and the negotiation at each museum as to what should be considered heritage. The results of this analysis are discussed both in the context of the unique history and makeup of each museum’s community, and in terms of each museum’s relationship to broader effects of globalization. The core category is considered to implicate several effects of globalization. Localization, a reaction to the threat of loss of identity, and general community change are suggested to be occurring in conjunction with increased opportunity for global contacts through heritage tourism and technological developments.