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Study Shows Museums Lack Diversity. Duh.

AAMD-graphicThe Mellon Foundation has released the results of a new study assessing gender and ethnic diversity in museum staffs. Anyone who has ever worked in museums doesn’t need a study to know that museum staffers, especially those in curatorial and directorial positions, are very white. But the report puts the official stamp of shame on the lack of diversity at museums. Except for culturally specific museums, not much has changed over the years, although leadership positions are finally evening out in terms of gender.

Here is a great quote from the study, plucked by ArtNet News:

“To thrive in the long term, it is crucial that museums bring the demographic profile of their staff into alignment with that of the communities they serve,” said Elizabeth Merritt, director of AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums. “This will require challenging a broad range of assumptions about how museums train, recruit and manage the staff responsible for collections, interpretation, education and leadership of our institutions. And it will require taking a hard, uncomfortable look at the conscious and unconscious influences that have shaped our institutional culture and created the current imbalance.”

To read the results of the study, which was conducted with the assistance of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), go here.

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6 Responses

  1. patricia hernandez

    Thank you Mellon Foundation! It’s time an honest and constructive discussion ensue to change the current lack of diversity within museums and other spaces. Those is positions of authority must step up to the plate and lead us there!

  2. Paula Newton

    I feel like this post is incomplete without mentioning Tom Finkelpearl, former E.D. of the Queens Museum, an old white guy who walks the walk. While at the Queens, he put together a staff that not only represented museum-goers, but represented the entire community in which the museum was located. I met him at the AAM conference when it was in Houston, one of the few E.D.s of a major museum who attended (because he thought AAMD, the conference for directors, was out of touch with the the real workings of the museum staff and local communities). He was recently appointed NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. Keep your eyes on him; I suspect he’s gonna kick some ass in NYC!

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