All Exhibits: 1

Choosing Words Wisely: Language in the Service, Citizenship, and Civil Rights Exhibit

Language evolves over time. The words we use to refer to ourselves and each other change in response to new information, historical events, and social movements. Whenever we use a term to refer to a person or group of people in a museum exhibit, we are making a conscious choice. The choices we make reflect our values and our assessment of the appropriateness of particular terms in particular contexts. Service, Citizenship, and Civil Rights focuses on people who have experienced marginalization due to their membership in various identity groups in order to illuminate common themes. There are numerous terms that could be used to describe the identity groups that we feature, and there are numerous terms preferred by individuals whose identities intersect with these groups. The following guide explains why we chose to use particular terms in this exhibit. We acknowledge that we have made different choices in the past and may make different choices in the future. The process of using language to describe and repair our world is ongoing.