Expanding our Commitment to Ongoing Diversity and Inclusion Work

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is built on a foundation that supports diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion for all visitors, former and current employees, partners, artists and community members. We have a long history of programs that support Black families and children. Navigating two equally important societal changes, COVID-19 and racial/social injustice, has given us the opportunity to deeply examine how we can expand our focus on racial justice and become a stronger organization and better friend to and ally of Black children and families, now and into the future.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh continues to broaden its commitment to diversity and inclusion through facilitated engagement sessions, hiring a leader to guide our diversity and inclusion work, and establishing a permanent board committee to ensure continued progress. These efforts, along with our existing policies and programming, continue our commitment to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), other minority audiences, and underserved children and families.

A recap of our efforts is listed below.

If you have questions regarding this work, please contact us at [email protected].

november 2020 public session

To provide an update on our ongoing diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion and justice (DEIAJ) work to the public, we share the latest developments in our continuing efforts to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other minority and marginalized audiences in our community.

Speakers: Cecile Shellman, Museum DEAI Consultant, and Mónica Méndez, Head of Culture Change at the Children’s Museum
Moderator: Max Pipman, Senior Director Of Communications, Children’s Museum

fall 2020

  • Mónica Méndez is hired to lead culture change and oversee all DEAIJ efforts at the Children’s Museum.
  • Diversity Catalyst Cecile Shellman helps us with organizational examination,  leading listening sessions, town halls, education and training, survey / benchmarking work and case study sessions. Cecile facilitates learning for Museum staff and the Board.
  • Board member Valerie Kinloch leads a permanent committee on DEAIJ and joins the Executive Committee of the Board.

summer 2020

  • As part of the Children’s Museum’s ongoing work related to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion and Justice (DEAIJ) initiatives, we create a cross departmental task force to involve current employees in discussion, planning, and recommendations.
  • Feedback from employees past and present, including an open letter,  accelerates the work.
  • The Museum’s Board of Directors adds a permanent DEAIJ committee. The chair of this committee joins the executive committee of the board.
  • The Museum’s Board of Directors and leadership creates a new staff position responsible for developing and implementing DEAIJ strategies and policies. This person will work as a museum-wide collaborative partner to foster and improve a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive culture for employees, visitors, artists and partners. This position will report directly to the Executive Director of the Museum, Jane Werner. The individual will lead in educating museum staff how to dismantle oppressive systems and help hold the Museum accountable for the DEAI commitments it makes, thereby assisting the Museum in fully achieving its mission throughout the entire community.
  • Engagement sessions get underway. The first two engagement sessions are held the week of August 10 with past and current staff. The first session is facilitated by Pastor Brian James Edmonds, Senior Pastor of the Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh (MCOP), where he has been on the pastoral staff since 2007. The second session is facilitated by Dr. Sheila Beasley, the Pittsburgh Partnership Specialist for the United States Census Bureau. Dr. Beasley is the former Director of Outreach and Communications at the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development in the School of Education. Both sessions, other feedback received and additional discussions provide valuable insight and perspective on how the Museum can expand its work in this area. Plans for additional public / community engagement sessions are underway.The first steps of the board committee, new hire, and engagement sessions are announced August 7.
  • The Museum retains Cecille Shellman to help guide us for 3 months while the DEAIJ leadership is established. Cecille is the Diversity Catalyst with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and she has deep experience in the museum space. You can read more about her at: GPAC, her website, and in this story from the Post-Gazette.

spring 2020

  • Beginning in March, we are working to REIMAGINE the Museum to be new and different when we reopen safely. We  expand the scope of that work to elevate diversity and inclusion because museums aren’t neutral spaces and the Children’s Museum is committed to being anti-racist.
  • Upon the murder of George Floyd, the we heighten our thinking about how the Children’s Museum must become a more inclusive and anti-racist space.