Statement on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion

The Haggerty Museum of Art is engaging in a process of reinvention in order to fully internalize the principles of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion. We bring a lens of intersectionality to this work, and are committed to practices of knowing and care that will uproot and dismantle all forms of individual, institutional, and structural oppression and injustice. While we did not create deep institutional and structural inequity, we did inherit it. And we are now both obligated and empowered to address it.  Because this inequity was intentionally designed, we will be equally intentional in designing for equity in every dimension of the Museum. We will unlearn the practices and behaviors that have emerged from structural inequity and build a new, thoroughly equitable Haggerty Museum of Art.

We define* these terms as follows:

Diversity - Diversity is all the ways that people are simultaneously different and the same at the individual and group levels. Even when people appear the same, they are different. And any individual will have multiple identities and experiences. Diversity at the Haggerty requires examining and questioning our makeup to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented and valued. Our definition of diversity moves toward continually questioning whether the Haggerty Museum of Art has adequate representation to make equitable programmatic, teaching, hiring, governance, financial, and other decisions.

Equity – Equity, the fair and just treatment of every person, is the goal of our work. Equitable museums orient and align themselves with the unique needs, interests, and inclinations of their community members and create differentiated access points allowing the museum to meet people where they are. Equity is not the same thing as equality. Equality has to do with giving everyone the exact same resources, whereas equity involves distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients. Equity requires commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect, and civility, as well as ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals. It requires deliberate attention to more than matters of recruitment, hiring, compensation, promotion, and retention. Equity includes governance, representation, and other indicators of power. It is, collectively, a step toward recognizing past exclusion and achieving genuine inclusion. Equity is not the natural state of things. It is simultaneously a process, a practice, and an outcome. The Haggerty will deliberately apply time, resources, and energy towards developing the relationships of trust and understanding required in order to realize a truly equitable museum.

Accessibility - Accessibility means working with community members to co-create equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how organizations make space for the characteristics that each person brings. Our definition of accessibility extends far beyond public accommodations and job opportunities. It’s not just about the Haggerty’s physical environment; it’s about access to and representation in content for all. The Museum’s institutional body language—the powerful messages that we convey through unspoken and unwritten manifestations of our being—plays a powerful role in co-creating equitable access for all community members.  While our understanding of accessibility includes the legal definitions and provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we intend to go well beyond compliance. Instead, we will strive for completely inclusive design.

Inclusion - Inclusion refers to our intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of the Haggerty Museum of Art’s work, including decision-making processes. It refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of our organization. While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive.” Working from an inner core of institutional empathy, the Haggerty will nurture a culture of care and belonging in which diverse participants are truly integrated and valued as respected members of the organization, beyond token participation and authority. We view the Museum as part of both campus and civic infrastructure, and are committed to closing the gap between the Haggerty and its communities. Our goal of community resonance means that the Haggerty will be so connected with its communities that we will be keenly aware of the values, needs, gifts and talents of community members; community organizations, associations and institutions; and the unique aspects of place, history and culture that characterize and strengthen our communities.    

The Haggerty Museum of Art’s comprehensive process includes reviewing every dimension of the Museum through this DEAI lens, including but not limited to:

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Strategic Plan
  • Exhibitions
  • Collections
  • Community Engagement
  • Academic Engagement
  • Visitor Services
  • Hiring

Working with collaborative teams, the Museum will create specific actionable goals and objectives for each area referenced above and regularly report on them. We understand this to be an iterative process, and will revise this statement as needed as our work progresses.

Members of the Haggerty Museum of Art’s staff commit to educating ourselves about individual and institutional inequity and the structures that give it life and power. We commit to listening, to reading, and to attending to the voices of individuals and groups who daily experience the fear and pain of inequity.  We commit to applying what we learn to action, to support deep healing. and to re-evaluate and redesign our systems, processes and content.

*definitions adapted from those provided by the American Alliance of Museums

Resources & References:

Marquette University Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan

Race Forward Tool on Institutional Racism

Centering the Picture: The role of race & ethnicity in cultural engagement in the U.S.                           Slover Linett, December 2020

AAMD Next Practices in Diversity and Inclusion (2016)

Ithaka Report on Institutional Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (2018)

MASS Action Toolkit, 2017