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Facing Change Museum Communities of Learning: Letters of Interest still wanted

Photo of Bay Area Museum community of learning retreat
San Francisco museum leaders attending our annual Facing Change retreat.

Program Overview

The Facing Change initiative will provide the framework, training, and resources for museum leaders to build diverse and inclusive cultures within their boards that better reflect and serve their communities. Facing Change will catalyze museum board leaders to develop and implement measurable inclusion plans and practices, including access to diverse board candidate matching support. Museums will be selected through a competitive application process to participate in a multi-year inclusive leadership development program, culminating in the development and implementation of sustainable inclusion plans tailored to the needs of each museum.

Over the course of Facing Change, participating museums will, at no charge:

  • Receive professional development from a national DEAI firm, that may include inclusion and unconscious bias awareness training, administration of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), assessment of internal barriers to progress, inclusive change management, DEAI-supporting board governance strategies, and implementation of DEAI strategies
  • Receive DEAI consulting and support personalized to your board and institution from Facing Change Senior Diversity Fellows throughout the cycle
  • Receive baseline assessments measuring cultural competency and inclusive organizational culture and a customized plan of action
  • Develop sustainable board diversity and inclusion plans and workshop advanced board recruitment, engagement, and retention strategies
  • Receive priority access to diverse board candidate matching
  • Networking opportunities with museum leaders across the country
  • Engage with American Alliance of Museums leadership and Facing Change funding partners from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation

Time Commitment

Applying institutions will be asked to commit to approximately 8 hours of training and reflection per year for museum leadership and board members, inclusive of DEAI training and independent work. The program will include at least one major convening of each Museum Community of Learning per year (virtually) and one culminating convening of leadership representatives from all 50 museums. Meeting dates will be determined in consultation with selected museums.

A group discusses diversity planning, sitting down at a table.
Science Museum of Minnesota Senior leadership engaging in conversations about DEAI

Who Should Apply? 

The program is ideal for museums with leadership that:

  • Believes that diversity and inclusion are central to the effectiveness and sustainability of museums (see Facing Change: Insights from AAM’s DEAI Working Group)
  • Has taken some steps or begun discussions to embed DEAI into the museum’s programs, collections, and/or exhibitions and wishes to extend this work to the leadership and governance level
  • Is seeking guidance for and is committed to doing the internal work necessary to enhance board-level cultural competence
  • Has a strategic commitment to become more necessary and valued within their community through reflective service and leadership
  • Is currently participating in the AAM Continuum of Excellence
  • Is looking to recruit and retain more diverse board candidates who are well-matched and actively contributing to the sustainability of the organization
  • Has an interest in broadening its peer-to-peer network of museum governance leaders and board members for shared learning

Museums of all types (from art to zoos) and sizes are encouraged to apply. Museums should have independent, self-governing boards. AAM membership (at any level) will be expected upon application submission but is not required for letters of interest. Factors considered in the selection of communities included the density of museums and cultural organizations (including consideration of AAM members, accredited museums, and other Continuum of Excellence participants), regional demographic diversity, and overall geographic spread of the Facing Change initiative.

Application Process 

The American Alliance of Museums encourages museums to submit a Letter of Interest. The form requests the following information:

  • Basic museum information, including type, budget, and, mission
  • Level of participation (if any) in Continuum of Excellence programs
  • The size and meeting frequency of your museum’s governing body
  • Presence/absence/frequency of discussions on DEAI (if any)


If you have questions after submitting your Letter of Interest form, please contact We will schedule an informational Zoom conversation to share additional information and address any questions.

This program is made possible through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon, Alice L. Walton, and Ford Foundations.

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