Diversity and Philanthropy at African American Museums is the first scholarly book to analyze contemporary African American museums from a multifaceted perspective. While it puts a spotlight on the issues and challenges related to racial politics that black museums collectively face in the 21st century, it also shines a light on how they intersect with corporate culture, youth culture, and the broader cultural world. Turning the lens to philanthropy in the contemporary era, Banks throws light on the establishment side of African American museums and demonstrates how this contrasts with their grassroots foundations.
Drawing on over 80 in-depth interviews with trustees and other supporters of African American museums across the United States, this book offers an inside look at the world of cultural philanthropy. While patrons are bound together by being among the distinct group of cultural philanthropists who support black museums, the motivations and meanings underlying their giving depart in both subtle and considerable ways depending on race and ethnicity, profession, generation, and lifestyle. Revealing not only why black museums matter in the eyes of supporters, the book also complicates the conventional view that social class drives giving to cultural nonprofits. It also paints a vivid portrait of how diversity colors cultural philanthropy, and philanthropy more broadly, in the 21st century.
Diversity and Philanthropy at African American Museums will be a valuable resource for scholars and practitioners engaged with African American heritage. It will also offer important insights for academics, as well as cultural administrators, nonprofit leaders, and fundraisers who are concerned with philanthropy and diversity.
Table of Contents
1. Diverse Patrons, Diverse Values
2. African American/All-American
3. Doing Well by Doing Good
4. The Connoisseur’s Eye
5. A New Generation
6. Rethinking Cultural Patronage in a Diverse Age
Appendix 1: African American Museums: Basic Characteristics
Appendix 2: Methods
Patricia A. Banks is a sociologist of culture with a focus on the African diaspora. She is a 2018–2019 Mellon Fellow at CASBS at Stanford University, USA, and has previously been in residence as a Fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, USA. She is Associate Professor of Sociology at Mount Holyoke College, USA.
What is the future, and what is the past, of the African American Museum? In Diversity and Philanthropy at African American Museums: Black Renaissance(Routledge, 2019), Patricia Banks, an associate professor of sociology at Mount Holyoke College, explores the rise of the African American museum and its patrons and philanthropists. Combining sociology of culture with organisational and institutional analysis, the book offers both contemporary and historical analysis of some of the most important cultural institutions in America. Crucially, the book restates the importance of understanding race to sociology of culture, particularly in understanding elites. The book also reveals the changing nature of giving, with younger patrons expecting a different mode of engagement, as well as distinctive political and collecting practices. The book is essential reading across social science and humanities, as well as museum and arts professionals, and anyone interested in contemporary culture." - Dave O'Brien, Newbooksnetwork.com