Why a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience?

Three Photos of our 50th anniversary exhibit at Oregon Historical Society.  Photo of Anansi demonstrating the music of Ghana at our exhibit at Clacamas C. C.  Wilmington college exhibit using panels and banners available from CMPCE.

 

For nearly six decades, Peace Corps Volunteers have been bringing home their stories, objects, and changed perspectives. The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience preserves the legacy of their service and impact—and that of the Peace Corps as a dynamic and evolving organization, more relevant than ever in today’s world.

Through web-based collections and a physical exhibition and programming space in Washington, D.C., the Museum brings to light the people, work, hope, and heart of Peace Corps and promotes understanding of our shared humanity. Finding commonalities in the face of diversity is a Peace Corps value that fosters greater respect for human dignity and global citizenship.

In the luggage of every returning Peace Corps volunteer are objects that speak of unique experiences in a previously unfamiliar culture. Those artifacts—and the stories behind them—are the core of the Museum’s focus. By collecting and displaying these souvenirs of service, the Museum starts to address the question: how do we communicate what Peace Corps means?

What truly distinguishes the Museum will be its experiential dimension. Through immersive, state-of-the-art interactive and multimedia exhibits, visitors will engage in their own journeys and gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the diverse realities of life as a Peace Corps volunteer.

The Museum will eventually find a permanent home in the Peace Corps Community Center in the nation’s capital. The virtual exhibit space online makes the museum’s collections accessible to anyone, anywhere—including friends and families in the United States and in host countries where volunteers serve. By extending the reach of Peace Corps beyond individual volunteers and international host communities, the Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience hopes to inspire deeper cultural understanding and a commitment to service.

The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience is an affiliate group of the National Peace Corps Association and a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. It supports the three goals of Peace Corps:

  1. Help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women.
  2. Help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

 

 

As an institutional member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum preserves and exhibits artifacts, shares Peace Corps stories and educates viewers, all in compliance with best practices and the highest standards of museum management.

"For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."
~  President John F. Kennedy, March 1, 1961. 

 

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Since President John F. Kennedy introduced Peace Corps some 60 years ago, 235,000 American women and men, of all ages, have served in 140 countries. Assigned to work in assorted capacities in unfamiliar cultures and often under challenging circumstances, volunteers acquire life-changing experiences and new perspectives. The stories, objects, and experience they bring home serve to teach and enrich the rest of us.

 

Our vision:  The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience envisions connecting people worldwide and inspiring service and peace, showing that our common humanity is more fundamental than the cultures and ideas that separate us.

Our mission: The Museum collects and preserves artifacts and stories from Peace Corps volunteers who served in communities across the globe. It promotes cultural understanding through education and encourages research on the impact of Peace Corps. The Museum’s virtual and physical exhibits inspire visitors to serve – wherever they live, however they can.

The Committee for a Museum of the Peace Corps Experience is a (501)(c)(3) private nonprofit corporation not affiliated with the U.S. Peace Corps and is not acting on behalf of the U.S. Peace Corps.