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US-Africa Cultural Heritage Strategic Partnership

MSU UOE, MSU Museum, African Studies Center, and MATRIX are partnering with African cultural heritage sector institutions, scholars, educators, and practitioners across Africa in documenting, safeguarding, preserving, interpreting/reinterpreting, and making accessible the heritage of Africa’s many cultures. Focus is on best practices in tangible and intangible heritage, intellectual property rights, repatriation, and illegal trade in cultural materials. A major output of 2014 is the publication of the first comprehensive needs assessment/survey of Africa museums in cooperation with the MSU Museum/UOE, Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture, and AFRICOM (released October 2014).


  • Smithsonian Institution
  • American Alliance of Museums
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Association of African American Museums
  • AFRICOM (professional organization of African Museums and cultural organizations)


This partnership was initially funded by the internal MSU Strategic Partnership Grant Program from 2010-2013. Additional partners now include those listed above.  A recent Getty Foundation grant is supporting a mentoring exchange partnership program for three African and three American museums developing exhibitions/programming for youth: African and American Museum Professionals Mentoring Exchange Youth Exhibitions Design and Development Program.


C. Kurt Dewhurst

Director for Arts and Cultural Partnerships, Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship
Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Michigan State University Museum
Professor, Department of English
University Outreach and Engagement Campus Senior Fellow

Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship