Showing posts from June, 2014

Museums as Cradles of Democracy

by Courtney Brouwer, Assistant Director of Civic Learning  "Every museum, whatever its mission statement may be, is a cradle of democracy" – Eric Liu, author, civic entrepreneur and founder of Citizen University Just recently, I had the privilege of organizing a luncheon at the American Alliance of Museums annual conference that was co-sponsored by the McCormick Foundation. Captivating keynote speaker Eric Liu, who once served as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and now spearheads the Seattle-based Citizen University , underscored the crucial role that museums play in nurturing democracy and promoting what he calls the art of powerful citizenship. He called on an audience of museum professionals to acknowledge their institutions—whether they interpret collections of history, science, art, or animals—as cradles of democracy that foster meaningful participation in public life. Eric noted that documentation status is entirely extraneous to his conception of citiz

Just What is News Literacy?

by Phil Zepeda, Director of Communications  Where do you get your daily dose of news? Is it on your morning drive into work, perhaps reading the paper just minutes after it’s thrown onto your porch, or would it be on your smart phone or tablet? Many of us feel comfortable getting updated about the world around us through blogs, newsletters or social media. But depending on where you get your news, you might not be building your own news literacy strength. A growing sector of the U.S. population does not distinguish between professional journalists, information spinners and citizen voices. Technological advancements in concert with the 24/7 news cycle serve to further exacerbate this challenging situation. This is where having a personal commitment to becoming news literate is critically important. News literacy is defined as the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and information sources. It enables people to become sma