chapter  4
Sociolinguistics in the museum
Enrichment, engagement, and education
ByFiona Douglas
Pages 21

This chapter describes the journey to impact of the Language, History, Place project, a sociolinguistic research, teaching, and public engagement venture between the university and museum sectors. Publicly engaged sociolinguistic research can be characterised by the deficit model, on the implicit assumption that the sociolinguists are the 'real language experts'. Embedding the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC) materials in local museums is valuable, but it remains largely within the monologic dissemination model of impact activity. The discourse of collaboration has received more acceptance in the museum world in recent years than it has in academe, and the heritage sector seems to have found ways of coping with the challenges and opportunities presented by working in partnership with the public. Enactive engagement in the museum can take a variety of forms, such as demonstrations, live interpretation, and re-enactments. Museum professionals have a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond their collections into the local community, its heritage, and its people.