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 is broadening 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, will continue our commitment to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), other minority audiences, and underserved children and families.
If you have questions regarding this work, please contact us at: email@example.com.
Here is a recap of our efforts:
- Since March, we have been working to REIMAGINE the Museum to be new and different when we reopen safely. We have expanded 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.
- When George Floyd was killed, we heightened our thinking about how the Children’s Museum must become a more inclusive and anti-racist space. Our statement of support for the cause of Black Lives Matter is available here.
- As part of the Children’s Museum’s ongoing work related to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion and Justice (DEAIJ) initiatives, we created a cross departmental task force to involve current employees in discussion, planning, and recommendations.
- Feedback from employees past and present, including an open letter, has accelerated this work.
- The Museum’s Board of Directors added a permanent DEAIJ committee. The chair of this committee joins the executive committee of the board.
- The Museum’s Board of Directors and leadership created 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 are underway. The first two engagement sessions were held the week of August 10 with past and current staff. The first session was 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 was 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 have provided valuable insight and perspective on how the Museum can expand its work in this area.
Public / community engagement sessions are upcoming and we’ll share information on the date as soon as possible.
The first steps of the board committee, new hire, and engagement sessions were announced August 7.
- We have retained Cecille Shellman to help guide us for the next 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.
- Mónica Méndez has been hired to lead culture change and oversee all DEAIJ efforts at the Children's Museum.
- Diversity Catalyst Cecile Shellman continues to help us with organizational examination, continuing to lead listening sessions, town halls, education and training, survey / benchmarking work and case study sessions. Cecile will continue to facilitate learning for Museum staff and the Board.
- Board member Valerie Kinloch will lead a permanent committee on DEAIJ and is joining the Executive Committee of the Board.