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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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”

Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage (ReACH) Declaration

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Launched at UNESCO in May 2017, ReACH (Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage) is a global initiative spearheaded by the V&A in partnership with the Peri Charitable Foundation that explores how to re-think our approach to reproducing, storing and sharing works of art and cultural heritage.

This Declaration is intended for both institutions and individuals to promote the production, sharing and preservation of digital records and reproductions (‘Records’). Owners and Stewards of Works and others involved in the process of generating these Records are encouraged to disseminate and use the ReACH Declaration as widely as possible.

MASS Action Toolkit on Greater Equity in the Museum Field

Museums as Site for Social (MASS) Action Toolkit

Created by The Minneapolis Institute of Art, in collaboration with stakeholders across the field, MASS Action is a platform for public dialogues on a variety of topics and issues affecting our communities locally and globally, leading to actionable practices for greater equity and inclusion in our institutions.

In thinking about museums as “sites for social action,” MASS Action has created a comprehensive guide that outlines the theory and tools for practice towards creating greater equity within the museum field.

MAIEC Guide to Inclusive Museums

Inclusion 2025: A Practitioner’s Guide to Inclusive Museums

This guide is one of many components of the Museum Accessibility, Inclusion and Engagement Collaborative (MAIEC) project that was launched in December of 2015 by the Ontario Museum Association (OMA), the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI). The MAIEC project is our response to the challenge we posed to the broader museum community in the 2016 Conference, and a recognition of the needs we face as a sector to do better, and continue doing better, in truly being inclusive to the communities we serve.

Smithsonian Accessibility Program: Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design

Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design

This document contains guidelines (listed together in the Overview section) as well as design tools (listed in conjunction with the guidelines in Section B). The guidelines are in part based on construction standards established for the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. They represent Smithsonian methods for arriving at the laws’ required end: accessible exhibitions that work for people with disabilities as well as for the rest of the public. Together the guidelines become the Smithsonian standard for accessible exhibition design.

Museum Magazine special edition on the future of museums

Museum 2040: A Museum magazine special edition

For the November/December issue of Museum magazine, Elizabeth Merritt, director of the Alliance’s Center for the Future of Museums, invited contributors to explore one specific future that might result from existing limits and challenges playing out over time. (TrendsWatch 2018 presents this scenario, as well as three other potential futures, in a format designed to guide museum planning.)

Can civic museums become catalysts for social change?

Can civic museums become catalysts for social change?

Civic museums are the local institutions dotted in cities, towns and villages across the country that focus on the relationship between their place and its people. Without the global prestige of national museums or specialist collections, for many they may evoke memories of rainy school holidays, or beautiful but dilapidated buildings which councils and volunteers struggle to maintain and keep open. However, these institutions house a wealth of knowledge and potential related to the history of their places and local people, across hundreds of communities.