For this assignment I decided to focus on a smaller museum I am personally familiar with, the Wrangell Museum located within my hometown of Wrangell, in Southeast Alaska. This museum is a local cultural museum focusing on the history of the town, and the pre-contact Tlingit culture. For my second Museum selection due to my lack of experience with foreign museums associated with “the north”, I went looking online for example museums. In order to keep the museums more directly comparable I wanted to select a smaller scale museum and settled on the Qaqortoq Museums in Greenland.
                Unfortunately, due to the small scale of the museums, there is a limited amount of information about them available on their websites, so much of my analysis will be based on secondary sources for comparison. Given these limitations I will primarily be comparing some of their notable exhibits and how their websites are designed. A relatively minor detail to note is that while the official website of the Qaqortoq museum is in Danish, with an English translation option, while the Wrangell Museum has no similar feature for any non-English languages. This is likely due to the prevalent usage of English in the western international community.
                Starting with the official museum websites, the first notable difference is that the Wrangell museums website is a part of the Nolan center website, which is the community building the museum is located in, and is like to the town’s local government. In turn the Qaqortoq Museum website is based around NUKAKA – The association of Greenlandic museums, making it more a national rather than local museum. Both museums are local history museums with a focus on their respective communities, as well as the indigenous peoples who occupied them prior to western colonization.
                The Wrangell museum’s exhibits include a combination of historical artifacts and exhibits focused on the Tlingit, including totem poles located at the front of the building, a Tlingit canoe and currently exhibits on model carvings, a set of shoes made for a contest and scale models of riverboats. The Qaqortoq museum includes specialized exhibits on the Thule, Dorset and Norse cultures as while as several structures form the Inuit people and the towns history. The museum also exhibits local art.
                Comparing the two museums I found the Qaqortoq website much more sparse then the Wrangell museum website, despite my cursory research suggesting that the Qaqortoq museum operates on a larger scale. Overall I found the process of comparing an American museum to a foreign one interesting as the design focus is clearly different, but with definite shared elements. My question for this weeks discussion is this: How much of an effort should museums go to in order to make their websites and material available to different language speakers?


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