Ms Althea Cupo

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My doctoral research compares two interpretive strategies for presenting difficult heritage in museums: the Critical Narrative Strategy and the Dual Narrative Strategy. In the Critical Narrative Strategy, a single curatorial voice explicitly draws links between difficult heritage and contemporary injustice in society. The objective of this approach is often to motivate museum visitors to work for progressive social change. In contrast, the Dual Narrative Strategy dispenses with an authoritative curatorial voice and presents multiple, sometimes contradictory viewpoints in an attempt to de-escalate intergroup conflict and create common ground for promoting understanding among diverse parties. Unlike the Critical Narrative Strategy, it invites visitors to make their own meaning of past events.

 I plan to identify one museum that fits into each of the categories defined above and engage in participatory observation and conduct evaluations at these institutions. It is my hope that this research presenting a comparative analysis of the effects of interpretive strategies on visitor responses to difficult heritage will provide museum professionals with the information they need to make more informed curatorial decisions when presenting controversial topics.

Further information

External positions

MAP Tutor

1 May 20191 Sep 1019

Archives Intern , Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

1 Aug 201710 Dec 2017

Copy/Content Editor , Train to Teach Ministries

1 Jun 20161 Jun 2017

2016-2017, English Second Language Tutor, Cairns Baptist Church

1 May 201610 Jan 2017

Archaeology Intern , Monticello

1 Jun 201510 Jul 2015

Areas of expertise


  • difficult heritage, museums, Freire, critical pedagogy

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2018 - Master of Arts, MA in Museum Studies, Johns Hopkins University (2016 - 2018)
  • 2016 - Bachelor of Arts, BA in Communications , Thomas Edison State University (2015 - 2016)