Graduate Program

Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Melanie Mills

Thesis Committee Member

Marita Gronnvoll

Thesis Committee Member

Elizabeth Gill


Using Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) and Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT), this study examines the ways in which meaning is managed between the messages of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center and the visitors of the museum. The research shows that the museum and the museum visitors work together in order to create an overall rhetorical vision of the museum's main message, both within the museum space and beyond. Using the metaphor of conversation, this study demonstrates the three ways through which the museum and its visitors achieve the rhetorical vision: historical conversation, personal conversation, and residual conversation. In order for the rhetorical vision to be created, both the in-group (museum) and the out-group (museum visitors) must participate in the conversations surrounding the overall message of the museum. Practically, this study outlines a base for other museums to analyze how rhetorical visions are or are not functioning within the museum space and with museum visitors.