About ECHO

ECHOSpace Partners Map


Education Programs

ECHO develops educational programs and resources in place- and culture-based learning for students, teachers and communities, including the following: 1. Graduate-level courses for teachers taught at the ECHO institutions; 2. One- and two-week institutes that provide teachers from all over the country with cultural immersion experiences; 3. Standards-based curriculum (web-based and print) that complement ECHO programs such as the annual Performing Arts Festival; 4. Workshops and information on cross-cultural communication; 5. Symposia on topics relevant to the education of indigenous youth. 6. Dozens of special art, culture, history, and science programs designed especially for school groups and families.

New Technology

Funded by ECHO, initiatives like the Museum Action Corps' Special Projects at PEM help young people from diverse backgrounds learn creative job skills in areas like New Media. At the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Native high school students learn to create videos and other media. In 2009, ANHC students took first, second, and third place in the Fur Rendezvous photography contest. The New Bedford Whaling Museum's collection is completely digitized and placed on a state-of-the art server, thanks to ECHO funding. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians have developed a number of new media projects that describe their history and culture. Bishop Museum opened an impressive Science Center and continues to upgrade its world-famous planetarium. The North Slope Borough ECHO Project helps support BASC, a major research center for arctic phenomena.

Cultural Exchanges

ECHO makes cultural exchanges possible across the country, to re-connect communities and living traditions with historical collections and archives. For example, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives have traveled to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem to study and consult on the PEM collections. Alaska teachers have spent time on the island of Molokai learning about traditional Hawaiian use of land and sea resources. And perhaps the most exciting cultural exchange occurs every year when performers from all six ECHO sites come together to write, produce, and perform a multi-media piece that explores issues in cross-cultural communication and understanding.


One of the most successful ECHO programs, our internships and apprenticeships, ensure that youth have access to experience and career opportunities in the cultural sector. Each ECHO partner runs its own internship program. The Alaska Native Heritage Center, as an example, hires 40 Native youth each summer to learn about cultural interpretation and their own ancestral cultures. They practice this newfound knowledge as they greet the 80,000 guests who visit the Center each summer from all over the world.

Sharing Collections

Some ECHO institutions house esthetically and historically important collections, which they share with visitors, with scholars and with other institutions. Notable collections reside at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, also in Massachusetts, and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Smaller but equally important collections reside at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians owns invaluable items of cultural patrimony, which it keeps in trust for its own members.