KMA Statement on Social Justice and Racial Equity + Resources for Museums and Staff

From the Kansas Museums Association Board of Directors:

The KMA mission is: To promote museums and to provide leadership, advocacy, and training for the Kansas museum community.

The Kansas Museums Association (KMA) board of directors is deeply concerned about systemic racism in our country against Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and people of color. Our commitment to racial equality and inclusion cannot be only during moments of crisis, but must extend to amplify social justice practices and work to see a future where the world is a more equitable place. KMA is committed to engaging in and facilitating education and frank discussion to create meaningful museum experiences in which every person is supported, welcomed, and treated with dignity and respect.  We strive to ensure that all voices are lifted up through the lenses of art, science, and history.

If you have resources, questions or want to engage in meaningful dialogue that moves the association and your peers forward please contact Executive Director Lisa Dodson or Assistant Director Jamin Landavazo.

 

What Kansas Museums Can Do to Support Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC), Social Justice, and Racial Equity:

This is a list of resources for museums and their board, staff, and volunteers to use to begin actively supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), social justice, and racial equity.  Some museums across Kansas may have been addressing these issues and adopting these practices already; for others it might feel overwhelming and leave you wondering where to start.  The important thing to do IS to start somewhere.  Take steps to read, learn, and share.  There is a lot to learn, and a lot to do.  We will likely make mistakes, but we will keep moving forward.  Expect it to be uncomfortable, and remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint.  We will do what we do best – preserving, protecting, and sharing stories about the art, history, and science that make us human with all of the messy, nuanced detail that comes with it.

These resources will be updated as time allows.  To share a resource here, contact Jamin LandavazoUpdated 7.14.20.

Read:

Guides and Action Frameworks:

Discussions and Thought Pieces:

Monuments:

Learn:

  • Webinar: Messaging the Moment, Engage/Mid-America Arts Alliance, August 13, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Central, Register here.
  • Webinar: Race, Social Justice, and Interpretation, National Association for Interpretation, June 25, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Central, Register here.
  • Webinar: Lunch and Learn: Authentic and Informed Native American and Museum Partnerships, California Association of Museums, June 25, 2:00 – 2:30 pm Central, Register here.
  • Webinar: Lunch and Learn: Decolonizing Initiatives at the San Diego Museum of Man, California Association of Museums, webinar SOLD OUT; click here to be added to a waitlist or to find a recording published 24 hours after the event.
  • Webinar: Lunch and Learn: Museums as Second Responders, California Association of Museums, July 23, 2:00 – 2:30 pm Central, Register here.

 

Listen:

  • To your board, staff and volunteers of color. For Museum Leaders Who Want to Do Better – Andrew Plumley, American Alliance of Museums
  • To BIPOC in your community. What are their needs?  Their questions?  What can your museum do to better serve them and welcome them?
  • Podcasts:

 

Collect:

  • Black Lives Matter materials and other materials that reflect what is happening in the world now: Museums Collect Protest Signs to Preserve History in Real Time – Graham Bowley, The New York Times
  • Artifacts from BIPOC in your community. Do you have an active collecting plan?  How can you publicize the types of things you would like to collect?
  • Consider an oral history project centered around an event in your community’s past or a BIPOC community to show different perspectives.

 

Share:

  • Amplify voices, stories, and collections that are non-white. Share them on social media, feature them on your website, build programming around them to talk about the past and present.
  • Talk about controversial collections/stories. Do you have artifacts that are stereotypical or racist in your collection? Why are they there?  What can we learn from them?
  • What stories can your museum tell from multiple viewpoints? Are there events in your community’s history that can be told from the point of view of BIPOC through artifacts, articles, or oral traditions?

 

Access:

  • Use this time to focus on digitizing non-white collections of photos, letters, etc.
  • Ask for help from your community – not just BIPOC – to transcribe, provide context, etc. – and then use those resources in virtual or in person programming.
  • Offer resources that help with genealogy for BIPOC. Black Americans in particular face challenges finding records of ancestors who may have been enslaved.

 

Engage:

  • Engage your board/diversify your board: build connections with business and community leaders, historians of the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous experiences and others in your area. Seek out and invite BIPOC to serve on committees and the full board, and listen to the ideas they bring.
  • Host speakers/conversations: whether in person or virtual, museums can be a place for the community to come together during hard times of learning, questioning, and moving forward. You can set the tone for thoughtful dialog in your area.
  • Be a conduit for history/art/science learning for adults and children, a place where they can question preconceptions and hear different viewpoints from BIPOC and scholars. If applicable, partner with local organizations like the local chapter of the NAACP, BLM, and BIPOC cultural and social organizations to elevate and expand their platforms and reach.
  • Are there discussions about renaming streets, monuments, buildings or other areas in your community? Become a resource for the committee to provide historical context and work with BIPOC community members to suggest alternatives.

 

Collaborate:

 

Other Resources:

From AASLH:

Our historical moment: Ten experts on the history of race in America spoke to TIME about how the past can help us understand the events of the present. “Comparisons to the 1960s, and that era’s fight for racial equality, have been plentiful—but that period was just one chapter in a civil rights movement that’s almost as old as America is.” 

Resources for understanding racism: Smithsonian magazine compiled a list of 158 resources for understanding systemic racism in America. The articles, videos, podcasts, and websites are divided into six sections: historical context, systemic inequality, anti-Black violence, protest, intersectionality, and allyship and education.

 

From the Coalition of State Museum Associations:

We are grateful to the leadership of our colleagues at Museum & Race, Society of American Archivists, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture for compiling resources to help us uncover, grapple with, and begin the discussion about the race-related collections we hold in our institutions; please take a look at them: