The Path to Diversity in Museums

Professional Forum

Friday, April 05, 2019: 2:00pm - 2:50pm - Republic Ballroom AB: Professional Forum: The Path to Diversity in Museums

Haitham Eid, Southern University at New Orleans, USA, Jennifer Williams, New Orleans Museum of Art, USA, Vera Warren Williams, Community Book Center, USA

In the last few years the museum sector has witnessed an increasing number of initiatives to diversify the museum workforce. These initiatives focus on training minorities to explore potential careers in the museum field. For example, Southern University at New Orleans and the Community Book Center received a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation to run the Youth Arts Mentoring Program (YAMP) which exposes African American youth between the age of 14 and 16 to the exciting work of museums and prepare them to be future cultural bearers. Also, the New Orleans Museum of Art received grants from the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation to offer paid internships to students enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Building upon the discussion started at MW18 in Vancouver, Canada, this panel will reflect upon the current diversity initiatives and provide an early evaluation of the effectiveness of the training approach to the issue of diversity in museums. Additionally, the discussion will explore the impact of diversity (or the lack thereof) on museum work.

Association of Art American Directors. (2016). Next Practices in Diversity and Inclusion. Available
Davies, M., & L. Shawn. (2010). “Measuring the ethnic diversity of the museum workforce and the impact and cost of positive-action training, with particular reference to the Diversify scheme.” Cultural Trends, 19(3), 147-79.
Eid, H. (2018). Connecting The Dots: The Impact Of Diversity In The Museum Workforce On Innovation, Relevance, And Audience Engagement. In N. Proctor, & R. Cherry (Ed.), Museums and the Web. Vancouver: Museums and the Web. Available
Ivy, N. (2016). “The Labor of Diversity.” American Alliance of Museums. Available
Schonfeld, R., M. Westermann, & L. Sweeny. (2015). “Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey.” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Published July 28, 2015. Available