ASTC Equity and Diversity Toolkit: Exhibit, program and audience resources

“Planning exhibits to attract underserved groups, i.e., people of color, disabled and poor people, has long been the goal of ASTC member organizations as the right thing to do. It is clear in this time of shrinking local and national funding that drawing new audiences is a survival skill for many institutions. How do we connect to the underserved communities not merely as customers but as partners?

 

The occasional exhibit that features scientists from an ethnic group or contributions of women scientists is not enough to sustain the interest and loyalty of diverse populations or adolescent girls as organizational members. Persons with disabilities and those who speak English as a second or third language will need more than signage to fully experience and enjoy the learning and fun ASTC institutions have to offer. How do we imbed inclusion in every program, class, exhibit and medium? Then there is the question of cultural, ability and gender insensitivity in exhibits - how to avoid being blind-sided?

 

Although most centers don’t have permanent collections, those that do face enormous challenges in dealing with diversity issues. The major issue still remains - who do the collections belong to? Indigenous peoples the world over are struggling with museums over the return of collections and their use for religious rites.

 

How will we know that we have succeeded in reaching across racial, cultural, gender, and ability divides? What styles of evaluation will tell us how effective our exhibit and programming efforts have been.”