ARLINGTON, VA – May 16, 2019 – The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) today announced ten Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Fellows who will work with AAM through 2021 to implement Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion, an unprecedented national initiative to diversify museum boards and leadership. The fellows represent a broad array of expertise in leadership and management, nonprofit governance, museum practice, cultural competence, and DEAI strategies.
Backed by $4 million in grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation, Facing Change will provide the framework, training, and resources for leaders of 50 museums in five communities (Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Jackson, MS; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area, CA) to build inclusive cultures within their institutions that more accurately reflect the communities they serve.
“It was important for us to engage fellows in this phase of the initiative in order to build capacity across the museum field for inclusive governance work,” said Laura Lott, President & CEO of the Alliance. “I am delighted that the Alliance will provide broad support for the fellows and their professional growth as part of this prestigious fellowship program. And I am confident this outstanding group of fellows will lead us to achieve our project goals.”
Fellows will lead the participating museums through a regimen of on-site support that includes analysis of current organizational climate, unconscious bias awareness training, administration of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), focus group conversations with board committees, assessment of internal barriers to success, and inclusion strategy development. The fellows will also work with the museums to develop sustainable and measurable inclusion plans.
“We engaged a national review panel and created a cohort of fellows that will help us transform the museum field,” said Dr. Tonya Matthews, Director of Inclusion for the Alliance. “We are tremendously excited to welcome these individuals to the Facing Change team.”
- Aiko Bethea, Principal, RARE Coaching & Consulting, LLC
- Sandra Bonnici, Associate Director of Education, Diversity, and Inclusion, Madison Children’s Museum
- Eric Carpio, Director of Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center & Philanthropy Officer for Community Museums, History Colorado
- Makeba Clay, Chief Diversity Officer, The Phillips Collection
- Omar Eaton-Martinez, Asst. Division Chief, Historical Resources, Maryland-National Capital Parks & Planning Commission
- Ann Hernandez, Senior Manager, Inclusion Initiatives, Association of Science and Technology Centers
- Danielle Linzer, Director of Learning and Public Engagement, The Andy Warhol Museum
- Azuka MuMin, Inclusive Cultural and Community Engagement Consultant
- Cecile Shellman, Museum DEAI Consultant, Cecile Shellman Consulting
- Levon Williams, Graduate Fellow, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The Need For Action
AAM’s field-wide diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) initiative responds to extensive and multi-year research that underscores the need and desire for change. In 2017, AAM and BoardSource examined museum board leadership and found a disconnect in the area of diversity and inclusion. The survey revealed that nearly half (46 percent) of museum boards are entirely white, 77 percent of museum directors believe expanding the racial and ethnic diversity of their boards is important to advancing their missions, but only 10 percent of museum boards have developed a plan of action to become more inclusive.
A recent survey by the Mellon Foundation demonstrated that employment in the US museum sector does not reflect the makeup of the communities these institutions serve, despite decades of local and national efforts.
About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.