Dear Friend of the Museum,
I’m writing in support of all who are protesting the recent violent events affecting the Black community and with profound grief and anger for all who have suffered violence and injustice over hundreds of years in this country and on this land. Black Lives Matter.
The U-M Museum of Natural History is strongly committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. These goals are front and center in our strategic plan, and serve as foundational values that inform all of our work. But we can do better.
We will use this moment of heightened awareness to listen, learn, plan, and commit to actions the museum can take to contribute to the equitable and inclusive future we want to see in the world.
We’re starting with a meeting this week of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team, inviting our nearly 80 student docents to participate. At this and future meetings with students and community members, we will talk about the special role that museums can play in our communities, and the specific, concrete steps our museum can take to make a difference. Although museums emerged from an elitist and colonialist past, we know that museums have now evolved to be places that bring communities together. Museums can be a refuge in hard times, and places of hope and inspiration.
Many of you who are long-time friends of the museum know that we took action to address outmoded representations of marginalized groups in our old museum’s exhibits and that we hosted a traveling exhibit about race that sparked campus and community-wide events and conversations about racial justice. Now, new action is needed.
We want to hear from you about how we might support you and our campus and larger communities going forward. If you have ideas or just want to share your experiences with us, please do so via this form. You may remain anonymous or choose to share your contact information
So many powerful statements have been shared during these difficult days, but if you want to learn more, we suggest you take a look at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s new online portal, Talking About Race. It is designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the ways in which these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture.In solidarity,