Pre-Conference Dialogue on the AAM Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement

Aletheia and I are part of the American Alliance of Museums’ Diversity Committee (DivCom), one of the Alliance’s professional networks. On Friday, DivCom hosted its first Webinar via Google Hangout Air to generate a discussion about the Alliance’s new-ish diversity and inclusion policy statement (watch below). While we experienced a few bumps with Hangout Air, the session provided a brief history of DivCom’s involvement with the policy development and produced some great questions and other commentary (transcribed below) that can be used for further discussion at the conference (and beyond). Thank you to everyone who participated, we look forward to engaging with you more!

General Questions:

  • How/will this policy help individual professionals makes space for diversity and inclusion on the ground? Does AAM (or the field) need to be more transparent with the strategies for helping professional implement these ideas? (Erin Bailey).
  • Understanding the Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement in the context of “business practice” seems to reinforce a framework of serving upper income folks. Thoughts? I am really questioning the role that $$ has in the idea of D&I work as a business model. If we are looking to engage D&I audiences then $$ needs to be a low priority. If we look for the 1% of D&I we sustain the framework that required a D&I policy. (Erin Bailey).
  • Can you speak more to the issue of Human Capital? What steps will AAM take to ensure a more diverse museum workforce? (Porchia Moore).
  • How can consultants who prioritize inclusion, social justice, access, & equity become better connected with museums, museums practitioners, students, and others prioritizing this work and and identify themselves as allies to AAM, DIVCOM, etc. in this area? (Kate Tinworth).
  • How can the other AAM professional committees support the goals of both DIVCOM and the DI policy?

Do you find AAM’s Diversity and Inclusion policy helpful?

  • The AAM policy has been very helpful for me as we have developed our department. By AAM issuing the statement, it became more of an imperative for my administration. We have developed a Mission/Vision/Values statement that is focused on creating an internal and external strategy for D&I work. I feel very strongly that this needs to be a strategy that we have, much like our collections, and exhibits strategy. (Chris Taylor).

How would you categorize inclusive practices?

  • I would categorize inclusive practices as those involving: staffing (hiring and retention),  professional development, next category is community outreach and education, including work with collaborative institutions. Next category would be collections and how they represent the communities. (Barbara Cohenstratyner).

Are there any AAM conference sessions you’d like to share:


  1. Enjoyed this discussion on YouTube. Some related discussions will be led Mon. at NAME MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS by Stacy Mann on Empthetic practice and by me on #museumsrespondtoFerguson.
    On Tues at 1:30 bloggers from Joint Ststement on Ferguson an
    d I will lead convo on this as part of The Museum Group sessions at Glenn Hotel.
    On Wed 9 am a session on Empathy in Museum Practice: Why should we care?

    1. Thanks for sharing this info, Gretchen!

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