January/February 2021 Museum magazine
The January/February 2021 issue of Museum magazine, a member benefit, focuses on topics of social justice and racial equity. In an effort to provide the broadest possible access to these critical topics, we are making these articles free and available to the public.
From the President and CEO: Museums and Racial Equality
By Laura L. Lott
Excerpt: Museums are cornerstones in our communities and among the most trusted sources of information by the public. We have a duty to respond to our nation’s reckoning with racism and other forms of injustice. …
By Melanie Adams, PhD, and Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell
Excerpt: For change to be sustained, there must be an organizational commitment beyond a few passionate staff and a consultant. The change must take place at the very core of the organization. Museums must eliminate white supremacy culture in order to rebuild a culture centered on racial equity.
By John Wetenhall
Excerpt: We must also rethink the structure and composition of museum boards by adopting reforms that are rooted in the best practices of corporate governance, the tradition of American museums to honor patronage, and the fiduciary obligation of museums to serve their community constituents.
By Adrianne Russell, Anniessa Antar, and Elisabeth Callihan
Excerpt: Don’t reinvent the wheel. Racial justice in museums cannot happen by following a checklist. There is no one-size-fits-all roadmap; you must audit and individually address each one of your systems to impact the whole. But museums do not have to reinvent the wheel either.
By Porchia Moore
Excerpt: Museums are the most trusted institutions in our nation. If we adhere to standards set upon us by those who do not invest in scientific and academic rigor, reason, and standards, we forfeit that trust.
By Redell R. Hearn
Excerpt: Partnerships are relationships that require regular assessment and recommitment. The Mississippi Museum of Art and Tougaloo College have built on their collective strengths in sharing artwork from the past to foster community understanding about the importance of civil rights in the present.
By Makeba Clay and Cecile Shellman
Excerpt: Here, Clay and Shellman weigh in on what museums need to do before hiring a CDO, how they can hire the best person for the role, and how they can support that person in their work.
By Museums and Race contributors Janeen Bryant, Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, Stacey Mann, and Levon Williams
Excerpt: This work, which encompasses collections, exhibitions, programs, operations, funding, and governance, belongs to every one of us.
By Marianna Pegno, PhD, and Jeremy Mikolajczak
Excerpt: Now we have the hard work to do—we have to constantly check in and continuously assess ourselves. If we just have the plan but aren’t doing the work to move forward, then we aren’t truly committed to prioritizing IDEA.