The paradigm shift of museums has changed the focus from collections and conservation, to educational programming and community engagement. What exactly does this mean for museums as we have come to know them? Many museum directors are now realizing that their most important audience is not the elitists and scholars that have been the focus in the past. Instead, these leaders are realizing that it is in fact the communities surrounding their institutions that are of the most importance. From this idea, many questions arise. How can museums find ways to interest their relevant demographics? What services can they provide to enhance the communities that surround them?
Educational centers within museums have become a means to answer these questions. Interactive exhibits and programming incite dialogue and the sharing of diverse perspectives and ideas; in the past these would have never had been mentioned. Museums have moved from temples of knowledge to forums of intellectual expression. This shift has the power to bring in people of all ages, educational backgrounds, and ethnicities, and in turn bring about a new wave of ideas to portray the unheard stories of the global community.