From the AAMI board:

We grieve the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many more who have died or lost their loved ones to unchecked police violence and within the nation’s culture of white supremacy. Widespread protests and unrest shine light on long histories of systemic racism, violence, and silencing that continue to strike Black communities. 

We write with deep support for our colleagues across the country, and around the world who work to reset museum interpretive practices. Inclusion, equity, and representation in interpretation are not now, nor have they ever been, abstract imperatives to address systemic oppression. They have a very real impact on the communities we belong to and serve. 

If museums are to serve as sites for convening and for community; for the making of art, history and culture and not just the preservation of it, our work–as art museum professionals and as art museum interpreters—needs to be anti-racism work. In solidarity with those who are speaking up and taking action across the country, we challenge ourselves, our community of practice, and our museums to commit to, and do, this work.

We acknowledge our participation and examine our places in upholding systems of racial oppression and white privilege. Who are we? What stories play out in our spaces? What stories do we cling to, and why? What stories are we unwilling to consider or see, and why? Who is at the table building those stories—and who is not?

Interrogating our histories and legacies of white supremacy goes hand-in-hand with normalizing inclusion, justice, and equity. We commit ourselves to using our positions of privilege as an organization to dismantle racist narratives, to advocate for greater representation and inclusion within the organizational structures of our own group, the museums we work for, and the art, voices, and stories we present. 

Taking action means listening and paying attention to whose voices have been—and continue to be—louder than others, including our own. We grow by listening to the expertise of people within historically marginalized communities. By centering their stories, they help shape histories that are relevant, inclusive, multifaceted, and multi-perspectival. 

Most fundamentally, we position ourselves as learners. AAMI is committed to the fight for equity, to challenging our own biases, to learning from and with our communities. 

With those beliefs at our core, we are sharing some links to projects, resources, organizations, and ways to get involved. Now, and always, we stand committed to amplifying the work being done by our museum colleagues of color and uplifting the liberatory work taking place in our field.

If you have thoughts, ideas, reflections, or corrections, please share those with us in the comments below, through our twitter account, or via email at artmuseuminterpretation@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply