In this article, David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, discusses how museums are uniquely positioned to play a central role in restoring trust in democratic institutions. .
Through various examples drawn from museums of all types, Skorton demonstrates the ways in which museums and similar cultural institutions are able to create dynamic spaces that facilitate frank and fact-based dialogue, paving the way for social progress.
“Museums and libraries remain among the most trusted public institutions in the United States and around the world. Because of their reputation as even-handed providers of unbiased information, museums can be public forums for people of different backgrounds and beliefs not only to learn and discover, but also to meet, discuss difficult subjects and build community.”
Trust in museums is on the rise. Here, people of different backgrounds, religions and ethnicities can engage with topics that are often contentious or taboo.