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Mellon Foundation Diversity Study

Three years ago, Ithaka S+R, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) set out to quantify with demographic data an issue that has been of increasing concern within and beyond the arts community: the lack of representative diversity in professional museum roles. The study examines how art museums have been successful in their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, offering lessons and best practices for others in the field. 

This case studies series, to be published between January – April 2018,  sets out to understand and share strategies in these areas that have worked at an array of art museums. What practices are effective in making the American art museum more inclusive? By what measures? How have these museums been successful in diversifying their professional staff? What complexities or change management challenges have they had to face along the way?

To select the case studies, the group identified 20 museums where underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities have a relatively substantial presence as educators, curators, conservators, and in museum leadership. In selecting the museums to profile, the group gauged the interest of the 20 museums in participating, asking questions about their history with diversity. In shaping the final list of participants, the panel also sought to ensure some amount of breadth in terms of location, museum size, and museum type. There was such strong interest in participating that it became difficult to decide which eight ultimately to include.

The final diversity study includes case studies from the following museums:
The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Brooklyn Museum (New York, New York)
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (Texas)
Detroit Institute of Arts (Michigan)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (California)
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (Illinois)
Spelman College Museum (Atlanta, Georgia)
Studio Museum in Harlem (New York, New York)

Once released publicly, the complete study will be available here.