Backed by $4 million in grants from three foundations (The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation), Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion, will provide the framework, training, and resources for museum leaders to build inclusive cultures within their institutions that more accurately reflect the communities they serve.
“Building a more inclusive museum field is achievable only with museums trustees and leaders committed to long-term change and improvement,” said Laura Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. “Museum boards, in particular, set the tone for their institutions and are well positioned to be agents of change. We commend the museum directors and trustees who have committed to this program for investing in their own operations and serving as models for all museums.”
“Based on U.S. Census data, the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex is ranked No. 11 among the 20 most racially diverse metro areas in the country. The selection of our Museum represents national recognition of this exciting demographic change and a responsibility on our part to continue to reflect the North Texas communities we serve,” added Van Romans, president of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. “As the largest museum in Fort Worth in terms of yearly attendance, we hope to be an example and lead other cultural institutions in committing to this national initiative.”
Earlier this year, as part of the Facing Change initiative, AAM announced an Excellence in DEAI Task Force charged with developing recommendations to embed diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion more deeply into AAM’s excellence programs. AAM also named ten DEAI fellows who will work with AAM to implement trainings and support the museum boards in developing sustainable and measurable inclusion plans.
The Need for Action
AAM’s field-wide diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) initiative responds to extensive and multi-year research that underscores the need and desire for change.
In 2017, AAM and BoardSource examined museum board leadership and found a disconnect in the area of diversity and inclusion. The survey revealed that nearly half (46 percent) of museum boards are entirely white, 77 percent of museum directors believe expanding the racial and ethnic diversity of their boards is important to advancing their missions, but only 10 percent of museum boards have developed a plan of action to become more inclusive.
A recent survey by the Mellon Foundation demonstrated that employment in the US museum sector does not reflect the makeup of the communities these institutions serve, despite decades of local and national efforts.
About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.
The Museum was established in 1941, is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. Anchored by its rich collections, the Museum is dedicated to lifelong learning. It engages guests through creative, vibrant programs and exhibits interpreting science and the history of Texas and the Southwest. For more information, visit www.fortworthmuseum.org.