Databases and online collections typically include standardized categories and fields of entry. While helpful for regulating across the museum field, this approach tends to homogenize “ways of knowing” about collections. In this session, you will learn about ways the cataloging practices of the National Museum of African American History and Culture both deviate from and align with standardization norms. You also will explore the processes in use as the museum strives to build a more culturally responsive database. Then you will have a chance to discuss how database structures privilege certain types of knowledge, and you can help to brainstorm ways to make these structures more inclusive.


  • Emily Houf
  • Terri Anderson
  • Marya McQuirter
  • Vickie Stone