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51 Museums Selected for Board Diversity and Inclusion Program as Part of $4 Million National Initiative

Category: Press Release

ARLINGTON, VA – July 23, 2019 – The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, today unveiled the names and locations of the museums taking part in AAM’s unprecedented national initiative to diversify museum boards and leadership. The full list of selected institutions below includes a cross-section of museums of all types and sizes.

Backed by $4 million in grants from three foundations (The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation), Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion, will provide the framework, training, and resources for museum leaders to build inclusive cultures within their institutions that more accurately reflect the communities they serve.

“Building a more inclusive museum field is achievable only with museums trustees and leaders committed to long-term change and improvement,” said Laura Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums.  “Museum boards, in particular, set the tone for their institutions and are well positioned to be agents of change. We commend the museum directors and trustees who have committed to this program for investing in their own operations and serving as models for all museums.”

Earlier this year, as part of the Facing Change initiative, AAM announced an Excellence in DEAI Task Force charged with developing recommendations to embed diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion more deeply into AAM’s excellence programs. AAM also named ten DEAI fellows who will work with AAM to implement trainings and support the museum boards in developing sustainable and measurable inclusion plans.

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.

Selected Museums


Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of the Grand Prairie, Naper Settlement, Oak Park River Forest Museum, and Shedd Aquarium.

San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose Area:

Contemporary Jewish Museum, Exploratorium, Filoli Historic House and Garden, Museum of Sonoma County, Oakland Museum of California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, Triton Museum of Art, UC Berkley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Houston/Dallas/Fort Worth:

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Dallas Heritage Village, DiverseWorks, Fort Bend History Association, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Holocaust Museum Houston, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Space Center Houston, and Witte Museum.


B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center, International Museum of Muslim Cultures, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Mississippi Department of Archives and History (Eudora Welty House and Garden, Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Historic Jefferson College, Manship House Museum, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Museum of Mississippi History, Old Capitol Museum, Winterville Mounds), Mississippi Museum of Art, and Museum of the Mississippi Delta.

Minneapolis/St. Paul:

American Swedish Institute, Anoka County Historical Society, Bell Museum, Goldstein Museum of Design, Hennepin History Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Ramsey County Historical Society, Science Museum of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Walker Art Center, and Weisman Art Museum.

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




Press Contact:

David Harrison

Harrison Communications



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