Innovation is harnessing the power of doing something for the first time. The Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston, the first of its kind in North America, is an innovative project. A place to learn to communicate judiciously and respectfully with each other, despite our differences, and to expand peace. The museum’s focus could not be more relevant to our times.
“You see a lot of bridge building and coming together with this project.”
– Jacquie Baly, CEO, Governor Greg Abbott’s University Research Board
A consultant was engaged to measure the demand for the museum. The consultant identified 100 key community influencers and conducted one‐on‐one interviews with 22 to gain insight into the needs of the Greater Houston Community and to seek project advice based on their experiences with community‐based projects. The responses both guided and informed the Board of Trustees and the project team by providing a deeper understanding of the opportunities, obstacles, and potential partnerships for the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston.
“Nurturing intercultural understanding and relationships is
[an area that is] our weakest. …We want more than just festivals or events.”
– Dr. Pamela Lewis (PhD), Board of Directors, Compassionate Houston
Based on the findings, demand is undoubtedly present, and there is a local, national, and global need for the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston. The following three key areas represent demand for this project:
- Elementary and middle school students, teachers, and school administrators.
- Corporations/Businesses large and small and Government Entities.
- Communities and community‐based initiatives.
“I have studied Gandhi all my life. Gandhi’s teachings add value to many groups
of people. It is empowering for the young people and citizens.”
– KP George, Fort Bend County Judge
User Group Study
The exhibitions, experiences, and resources of the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston are designed to be relevant, timely, and globally focused. Informed by quantitative data and qualitative feedback, the programming will engage students and teachers to support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the state standards for public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, with an emphasis on social studies curriculum. The program development will also help shape globally competent and civic-minded citizens.
Through a survey tool, more than 138 teachers helped to define the most compelling learning along with best practices for school field trips. Their feedback identified the preferred curriculum, recognized barriers to taking educational field trips, aligned Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston’s proposed activities to TEKS, and validated the need for peaceful conflict resolution courseware. Of the teachers surveyed, 77% said they are interested in bringing students to a museum that provides educational programming and exhibits on Gandhi’s life and teachings.
Further, creating a place for people of diverse cultures, ethnicities, religions, and races to gather and learn how to have an open, honest, and respectful exchange of ideas appeals to the teachers themselves, as well as a student population that extends to beyond post-secondary education and career-starter age groups.