In 2018, the Staten Island Museum developed its first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) plan, which includes 1-6 year measurable goals in the areas of hiring and recruitment, retention and promotion, inclusive organizational culture, diverse and equitable leadership, and a commitment to our community through programming and collections. We are actively pursuing these goals and will budget accordingly to realize this vision. The staff has formed a cross-institutional working group and the board has established a standing DEI Committee to actively pursue goals, monitor progress and hold ourselves accountable.
The board and staff have identified the following actions as key priorities for the museum to make a difference:
- Increase hiring of Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) to fulfill contracts. The museum has reassessed spending and over the past two years has made strides in increasing minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) vendor contracts. We will research and vet vendors to ensure alliance with our values and issue RFPs for contracts over $25,000. We are committed to steadily increasing to 30% percent of MWBE spending of our contracted work in line with city and state goals.
- Proactively recruit staff and board candidates of color. SIM will make concerted efforts to outreach and list open positions through a variety of job listing forums and through community organizations and influencers to help ensure a broad range of candidates are considered for open roles. In board recruitment, SIM seeks BIPOC board members to be reflective of the community we represent.
- Offer programming with content and leaders that represent the breadth and depth of the community. Public programs connect people and expand perspectives. We recognize that a multiplicity of voices, viewpoints, and skills are essential to enrich and improve the work we do. Additionally, we apply a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to every subject presented through public and education programs and exhibitions. SIM seeks to highlight talents and expertise from a broad range of perspectives.
- Fill historical gaps in collections. SIM is aware of the white-led and colonial views that informed collecting practices historically. We actively revise descriptions and interpretations of collections to reflect current scholarship and shift the narratives represented in our museum. Furthermore, we seek materials that increase diverse representation in the History and Art collections, with a focus on groups underrepresented in the founding process. Long term, we seek to build an acquisitions fund to proactively fill gaps in collections.
- Ongoing education and training about bias, systemic racism, and how to be antiracist The Board and staff of Staten Island Museum understand that achieving equity requires an intentional, long term commitment to dismantling biases and systemic racism wherever and however we can be most effective. Through ongoing participation in professional trainings, collaborative peer and community discussions and implementing best practices developed from this collective work, the museum will evolve into the authentic, inclusive community-based organization it was always meant to be.
For more details and to review the full DEI plan and goals:
We also turn to you — the Staten Island Museum community — for suggestions on how we can better use our platform to spotlight and focus on cultural equity and keep these conversations going. We are listening. Please connect with us firstname.lastname@example.org to share and contribute your thoughts on the museum’s role in diversity, equity and inclusion.
This year, we will also form a Community Advisory Committee to provide community-based input into the practices and programs of the Staten Island Museum, particularly focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, and education. Should you be interested to join, please indicate your interest in an email to the above address and we will get in touch.
We are proud of the work we have already begun and are committed to creating change in our institution and our community. Thank you for helping to make the Staten Island Museum an inclusive and welcoming place of learning for all Staten Islanders and visitors.
The Staten Island Museum thanks the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for support of a consultant working jointly with Staten Island cultural institution group members to advise on DEI plan development.