Winterthur's Diversity and Inclusion Statement

 

Dear Members of the Winterthur Community,

For the past several weeks, we have been listening to the voices across our country, of our own staff, fellows, and alumni, and on Winterthur’s social media platforms (#winterthurmuseum, #winterthurmuse, @winterthurmuse) that are crying out for America—and us—to recognize that Black Lives Matter. We regret that our earlier communications did not more strongly denounce systemic racism in our nation or the killing of George Floyd and so many others, named and unnamed, by law enforcement officers. We affirm here, unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter.

Winterthur holds inclusion as a core value. We acknowledge that we have often failed to live up to our own ideals. We have been reminded of this by our brave staff, students, and neighbors who have spoken out. We have not been sufficiently aware or sensitive of the needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to see their stories reflected at Winterthur and in the interpretation of our collections. We are deeply sorry for the disappointment and pain this caused many to feel within our graduate programs and Museum experiences. We know we must do better.

We will continue to listen and to learn, but we also need to act. The Trustees and leadership of Winterthur maintain zero tolerance for racism and discrimination of any kind, and we are firmly committed to anti-racist practices at all levels within our institution. Today, we pledge to the following immediate and longer-term actions:

  • DEI Expert Consultant: We will engage a Diversity/Equity/Inclusion expert consultant to conduct an immersive climate assessment of our museum and its programs to review and to determine greater opportunities for diversity and inclusion.
  • Staff, Fellow and Alumni Dialogue: We will invite current staff, fellows and alumni of our graduate programs to Zoom sessions aimed at gaining insight into creating a more diverse and inclusive environment.
  • Faculty and Staff Diversity: We will work to increase faculty and staff diversity.
  • Board Diversity: We will seek to racially, ethnically, and culturally diversify the Board of Trustees.
  • Training and Counseling: We will provide anti-racism training for all leadership, faculty and staff, including counseling on recognizing and eliminating implicit bias.
  • Diversity/Equity/Accessibility/Inclusion (DEAI) Task Force: We will bring together Trustees, faculty, staff, and graduate students to recommend short- and long-term goals as part of a DEAI strategic plan.
  • Partnership: We will seek partnerships with museums, community groups, colleges, universities, and foundations to support programs and projects that will actively engage and serve diverse audiences.
  • New Stories: We will undertake new research of our collections to highlight the stories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and other traditionally under-represented people, and will share those stories on our website, social media platforms, and in our on-site interpretation.
  • Continued Conversations and Updates: We will provide an open forum in which Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and volunteers can continue dialogue with updates to be shared with our entire community.

Thoughts, ideas, and words are never enough. Action will be our focus. We are committed to this important work that must be accomplished. We understand these are only beginning efforts to realize a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution.

Sincerely,


Katharine P. Booth, Chair, Board of Trustees


Carol B. Cadou, Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO

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