Researcher ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Cultural Studies, MA


School of Arts and Humanities


Cultural Studies with Museum Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Darrell Moore

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jung-Hsien Lin

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Nikia Chaney


communal, cultural heritage, museum preservation, communal appropriation

Subject Categories

Museum Studies | Other Arts and Humanities


While cultural appropriation is widely taken as a negative phenomenon that should be avoided, aspects of cultural appropriation are desirable for cultural preservation and heritage. These aspects can expand upon a museum's function by fostering an authentic connection to the community that would enhance the exhibition of cultural artifacts with authenticity, sustainability, diversity, and accessibility. This paper interprets auto-ethnographical visits to two sites, the Watts Tower Community Center in Los Angeles, CA, and the Fairfield House in Bath, England as a way of understanding community appropriation. Both the Watts Tower Community Center and the Fairfield House are inhabited by black and ethnic minority communities that have adopted and claimed their respective sites as locations for cultural activities outside of the intent of the original site's founder. I argue in this essay that community appropriation is a phenomenon that can be used as a way of cultural heritage that destabilizes traditional values and troubling aspects of current cultural preservation. In this essay, I aim to close a gap in our understanding of cultural transmission, preservation, and community efficacy.