Partner Profile: Arkansas Historic Decisions Learning Exchange

Team: Allison Tschiemer (Dallas, Texas), Brian Wegner (Saginaw, Mich.), Nathan Davis (Sherwood, Ark.), Ganelle Blake (Little Rock, Ark.)

Supervisors: Dr. Malcolm Glover and Kathleen Pate

The Arkansas Historic Decisions Learning Exchange (ARHDLE) is a coalition of museums and learning centers in the state who seek to use public deliberation as a tool to enhance educational programs at their facilities and engage communities in substantive discussions about important issues. As part of the public deliberation process, people are encouraged to listen to one another, explore the unbiased facts of an issue, test ideas, weigh options and balance tradeoffs to find where their diverse interests overlap so that they can better understand each other and act together to confront problems.

Currently, representatives from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville; Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena; MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock; and U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith form the core of ARHDLE. As part of the ARHDLE initiative, Clinton School students are conducting useful research and working with officials from the aforementioned partner institutions to develop new programs based on historic issues. The historical frameworks developed by the students will be used at each facility in a way that encourages participants to think about a difficult public issue from the past and try to find common ground through a facilitated discussion about possible solutions.

Mission Statement: The ARHDLE initiative is made possible by a research grant from the Kettering Foundation.  A nonprofit operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research, Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Kettering’s research is distinctive because it is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.

“The Clinton School students working on this project are conducting research that inspires collective problem solving. The concept of deliberative democracy, or consensus decision-making, is a foundational element of this practicum project. Each day, students are taking the necessary steps to develop educational frameworks that enlighten people, strengthen civil discourse, and make a difference in the communities where our partner institutions are based.” – Dr. Malcolm Glover, ARHDLE Project Coordinator



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