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Core Concept Primer: DEAI is the responsibility of the entire organization

Category: Facing Change
Graphic with text: Excellence in DEAI 2022 Report from the Excellence in DEAI Task Force

The Excellence in DEAI Report includes four Core Concepts, and overarching themes of excellence in diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI). Each Core Concept includes Key Indicators, and tactical practices indicative of progress in each Core Concept. These primers serve as introductions to each Core Concept to help you spur conversation and action that advances excellence in DEAI at your museum.

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Excellence in DEAI Report

Core Concept: DEAI is an ongoing journey without a fixed endpoint

Core Concept: DEAI demands an ongoing commitment of resources

Core Concept: DEAI work must be measured and assessed

Core Concept:

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) is the responsibility of the entire organization.

Sustained, meaningful, and impactful DEAI work must be reflected in all aspects of museums, from individuals to organizational culture, to policy and process. This work must not solely rely on the people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, or the disability community within your museum, nor is it a responsibility that should be held solely by the HR function.

DEAI work is everyone’s responsibility, from the board and C-suite to middle managers, junior staff, and volunteers. One of the goals of this work is to promote equity within and across a museum’s organizational structure. Achieving excellence in this core concept will involve determining current DEAI needs and ensuring museum-wide participation in reaching them. The importance of the work should be reflected within the scope of responsibilities of all museum staffers, each of whom should have explicit goals for the operationalization of equity within the scope of their role and function.

Key indicators indicative of progress in this core concept are:

  1. Adopt equity as a cornerstone of the museum’s mission, strategy, values, management, and culture.
  2. Embed responsibility and accountability for implementing DEAI policies and processes into operations, job descriptions, and performance reviews at all levels of the institution, from the board of directors, C-level executives, and senior leaders to middle managers, junior staff, and volunteers.

Examples in Action



DEAI Plans


Creating a welcoming, supportive environment within a museum that lives up to its DEAI goals requires an active and sustained commitment to recognizing, questioning, and undoing previously held beliefs and assumptions about how the institution operates. This work cannot fall solely on staff members most negatively impacted by inequity; it must be a communal effort that happens at every level of the museum. Excellence in enacting this Core Concept in part means directly addressing areas where the museum has not lived up to its stated goals around DEAI, questioning what institutional policies or cultural practices may be contributing to inequity, and taking concrete steps to change them.

Read more on this Core Concept and find additional resources in the Excellence in DEAI Report.

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