Facing Change: Insights from the American Alliance of Museums’ Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Working Group

In spring 2017, following its strategic plan, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) convened the Working Group on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI). Twenty museum professionals, representing a variety of disciplines, organizational sizes and types, and perspectives, came together monthly at the Alliance’s offices in Arlington, Virginia, and once at the 2017 AAM Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. For six months, this group examined the characteristics of effective museum inclusion practices and considered what steps the field could take to promote DEAI.

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CAA to Issue Best Practices for Addressing Proposed Changes to Colleges and Universities

About the Project:

Over the past few months there have been an alarming number of colleges and universities throughout the nation—from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point to University of Texas at Austin—taking actions we perceive as detrimental to the education of future generations in the arts and humanities, particularly in the fields of art history, studio art, and design.

From our perspective, in many instances, it appears that decisions to merge departments, eliminate degrees, or reduce libraries are largely transactional in nature, designed to balance present-day budgets. Continue reading “CAA to Issue Best Practices for Addressing Proposed Changes to Colleges and Universities”

The Museum Education Act passes the New York State Legislature—AAM

The Museum Education Act passes the New York State Legislature

The board and staff of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) have been working in concert with the New York State Education Department, its Board of Regents and Office of Cultural Education, Legislators, MANY members, and Sheila Healy, our Government Affairs Consultant for over a dozen years to help secure funding to help museums serve their communities and fulfill their missions as partners providing access to exhibitions, collections, and education programs that help define us as New Yorkers and Americans.

UMAC (ICOM) Statement on Protection of Museum Infrastructure

UMAC, the International Council of Museums committee on University Museums and Collections

Museums are the custodians of the world’s artistic, cultural, and scientific heritage. They hold the evidence of human civilization, culture, creativity, imagination, and knowledge in their collections. Museums are institutions of research, investigation, inquiry, and learning.

A ravaging fire engulfed the Museu Nacional, a museum at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The incalculable loss of the collections of the largest natural history museum in Latin America has brought the fragility of many museums to the world’s attention. Continue reading “UMAC (ICOM) Statement on Protection of Museum Infrastructure”

The Pervasive Power of Male Privilege at America’s Elite Universities—Hyperallergic

In this op-ed,  artist Nancy Bowen discusses the prominent rise of sexual misconduct allegations on college and university campuses, and the mechanisms that allow the accused to stay in power.

Institutions have hired men with predatory reputations and retained them, despite complaints from women students and faculty. All because women haven’t had a strong enough voice in the system.

Sexual harassment at education institutions is a systemic problem…As Susan Faludi eloquently noted in an op-ed piece last winter, we must ‘[fight] the ways the world is structurally engineered against women. Tied to that fight is the difficult and ambiguous labor of building an equitable system within which women have the wherewithal and power to lead full lives.’

Identifying and Transforming Racism in Museum Education—Journal of Museum Education

Identifying and Transforming Racism in Museum Education

This issue comes at a particularly important moment in that many museum educators – across racial lines – are seeking scholarship to make sense of the ways in which racism shapes museum education. While there has been little written about the historical dimensions of racism in museums, nor strategies to identify and combat it, this edited issue will build on three recent collections of essays – Multiculturalism in Art Museums Today, the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Museum Education on “Race, Dialogue and Inclusion: A Museum on the National Stage,” and the upcoming volume, The Arts as White Property: Interrogating Racism within Arts in Education – that have begun to lay the ground for a more concerted effort to talk about racism in museums. To live up to their roles as spaces for civic engagement and public accessibility, museums must transform how they address institutionalized racism. As educators, we have a responsibility to be actively engaged citizens who are willing and able to bring the conditions of the world into the museums. To do so requires both an understanding of the ways in which museums can perpetuate inequality as well as how we can work to dismantle systems of injustice in our everyday practices.

20 Museums Tapped for Initiative to Create Learning Opportunities For Older Adults—AAM

Aroha Philanthropies, the American Alliance of Museums, and Lifetime Arts has announced that 20 museums and organizations have been tapped to participate in a new initiative, funded and managed by Aroha Philanthropies, Seeding Vitality Arts in Museums.

The more than $1 million project will enable these museums to develop and implement high quality, intensive arts learning opportunities for older adults.

All three organizations feel there is an urgent need to change the narrative about what it means to grow old in America, combat ageism, and promote a healthy change in societal attitudes toward aging as growth and older adults as contributors.

Continue reading “20 Museums Tapped for Initiative to Create Learning Opportunities For Older Adults—AAM”

A Virtual Issue of the Journal of Museum Education on Advocacy

Museum Education Impacts: Advocacy 101
Journal of Museum Education
Guest editors: Brooke DiGiovanni Evans and Meg Winikates

About this Issue:

Readers of, and writers for, the Journal of Museum Education come from all over the world. In some countries, the case for state support for museums and related organizations is understood. In others, it requires repeated efforts, clear arguments, and stories that stand out from the crowds of other advocates and their causes. In the United States, where national politics especially seems ever more divisive, museums have the advantage of being a topic on which nearly everyone agrees, regardless of party lines. Culture, heritage, and education are topics everyone says they support, whether or not they’re willing to fund them.

Museum professionals are comparatively new to the world of advocacy, and many avoid it for fear of running afoul of the rules governing lobbyists or from concern that they might threaten their organizations’ non-profit status. Fortunately, the majority of what you are likely to want to do: presenting your case with supporting evidence about a cause you care about, is considered advocacy. Only saying “and therefore we want you to vote this way” is lobbying, and saying it about a few bills in the course of a meeting or two over a year is not going to run afoul of the limits on lobbying placed on non-profits. The shorthand rule is that causes are safe, people are not. As long as you do not campaign for (or against) a particular candidate using your organization’s resources, your non-profit status is safe. Even once committed to doing advocacy, it can be daunting to think about where to start and how to make your case. This collection of articles from recent issues of the Journal of Museum Education is designed to help. Continue reading “A Virtual Issue of the Journal of Museum Education on Advocacy”

Addressing how small art institutions can best serve their communities is an ever-present concern

Art Spaces Can Bridge Social Divides—But First You Need to Know Your Neighbor—Artsy

An organization committed to social bridging understands it is not just part of a professional network, but part of a local network of people and institutions. It must assess its place beyond the art world in order to understand which local networks it can join, and what kinds of relationships it might facilitate. Who is in the community that we might learn from? Who might benefit from meeting one another?

How to Teach Ancient Art in the Age of #MeToo—Hyperallergic

How to Teach Ancient Art in the Age of #MeToo

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it is crucial to reassess the way we teach and write about art historically important works that portray violence against women – violence spanning millennia when viewed through the lens of art history – in order to reinvigorate the role played by art history in contemporary social movements. Although images of violence against women are not exclusive to ancient Greek art, the large number of artworks from ancient Greece depicting this violence, such as abduction (a metaphor for rape in ancient Greece), coupled with the perception of Greece as a paradigm of democracy in the West, suggests a reanalysis of Greek art is a good place to start.