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Announcing the 2018 Demographic Survey of Art Museum Employees

In 2014, Ithaka S+R partnered with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) to study the representational diversity within art museums through quantitative means. Today, four years after the first study, we are undertaking a second cycle of the demographic survey, to measure what we hope will be positive change in the field. The initial demographic survey arose from a growing concern that cultural organizations are struggling to reflect the American population, especially in a time of rapid demographic change. Given persistent structural inequities affecting people of color,…


Spelman College Museum and MCA Chicago
New Case Studies in Museum Diversity

In an ongoing effort to document the equity, diversity, and inclusion practices of art museums, Ithaka S+R, in partnership with the Mellon Foundation and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), has published two new case studies. At Fifty, Remodeling for Equity: MCA Chicago studies the operations, collections, programs and audience of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. This museum has undertaken creative strategies to partner board and staff in a horizontal committee intended to address issues of access, inclusion, and equity across departments. They have made substantial strides diversifying collections and exhibitions in recent years, connecting with local artists…


Making Strides towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Examples from Four Art Museums

Over the past three years, Ithaka S+R has conducted three wide-scale analyses of employee diversity in cultural organizations. These have included academic research libraries, the cultural sector in New York City, and American art museums. In all three studies, a common picture has emerged: staff in professional–and especially leadership–roles are more predominately white than is the population more broadly. But, as we found in the analysis of American art museums, there are outliers—organizations that have made significant strides in diversifying staff in curatorial, education, conservation, and leadership positions. Today, in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Association…


Forthcoming Case Studies of Eight Art Museums

This month we are very excited to begin qualitative research on inclusion, diversity, and equity issues in eight American art museums. This research builds on a previous study we undertook on behalf of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in consultation with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), which found that art museum employees were more racially homogeneous than the U.S. population, especially in professional roles.  Our current research, through the same partnership, will focus on how some museums have achieved a degree of racial diversity in those professional roles. This effort…


Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Art Museums
Learning from the Community

How diverse are America’s art museums? In terms of one measure—employee demographics—not very. A 2014 study, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and undertaken by Ithaka S+R in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), showed that the field is much more homogenous with respect to race and ethnicity than the nation as a whole. While these findings have already had widespread impact, the study also raised questions about how art museums can do more to reflect and support the communities they serve. Now as a follow up the Mellon Foundation, AAMD, and Ithaka S+R are collaborating…