Museum Trends: Increasing Museum Staff Diversity

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Image from: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/pressure-mounts-for-us-museums-to-increase-diversity-at-the-top/

Recent studies found that while people of color make up 38% of the American population, they only represent 9% of museum boards and 16% curators, administrators, and educators. Although these findings are not surprising to those who work in the museum world, they certainly make it nearly impossible to ignore the fact the museums in the United States are dealing with a serious lack of diversity within their workforces.

Discussions about the best ways to increase racial and ethnic diversity are ongoing and widely debated. Some people believe giving money to institutions is the way to go, and others want to give money directly to people. Commissioner of New York’s cultural affairs department, Tom Finkelpearl, proposed following the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, in which a diverse pool of applicants must be considered for each senior position.

Other leaders suggest for museum staff to look at people with diverse backgrounds when considering applicants for positions — dance or theater majors, in addition to art history or studio art majors.Steps towards increasing diversity include raising money specifically for diversity efforts among city-subsidized institutions. Future measures might include offering paid internships, which allows people who cannot afford to work for free get into the museum field.

Alternative first steps include raising money specifically for diversity efforts among city-subsidized institutions. Future measures might include offering paid internships, which allows people who cannot afford to work for free gain experience in the museum field.

To learn more about this issue, please visit: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/pressure-mounts-for-us-museums-to-increase-diversity-at-the-top/

Amy Shirer ’18

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