The America we know is not the America we knew, nor will it be the America we will know in the future. Increasing immigration throughout the United States has led to rapidly changing racial demographics and a shift in attitude towards cultural assimilation. As America heads to a majority minority country, museums are feeling the heat to reevaluate their practices in order to stay relevant in this rapidly changing society.
Anna Huntley, an Exhibitions Project Manager at the Field Museum, suggested that museums can stay significant by integrating diversity into all aspects of their institution. Staying present in the story being told helps her to balance the content matter and cultural pluralism of the Chicago community she serves. But what about the diversity of the staff?
The Center of the Future of Museums recently estimated that only 20% of museum employees are minorities – 80% being white and 80% being female. As I look around at my classmates I realize more and more of the reality of those statistics. How can the museum world hope to entice a more racially diverse audience when we are limited in our points of view? The Center for the Future of Museums suggests a few ways to invest in the diversity of the field.
– Increase awareness of museum careers
– Recruit more diverse students into museum studies programs
– Invest in the continued education of bright, innovative individuals
How can you help to support the continued growth of our field? Is there a program, exhibit, or lecture series aimed at a diverse set of future professionals that you could contribute?
-Interview with Anna Huntley, Exhibitions Project Manager, The Field Museum, October 12, 2011.
-Betty Farrell and Maria Medvedeva, Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums (American Association of Museums, Center for the Future of Museums) 2010.