At The Wolfsonian, we have heard Black Americans' clear call for justice ringing through our social media, our schools, our parks, our streets. We stand in solidarity with the Black community's continuous fight to end the systemic abuses and discrimination they face, and we respond with a promise: to step up and be better.
Many have taken a hard look in the mirror in the days since the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Yet now is the time for institutional as well as personal accountability, and like most museums built from privilege, The Wolfsonian is overdue for change. We can and must do more to diversify our staff, programs, exhibitions, collection, even our audience.
As educators, it is our moral imperative to take an active, self-critical role in this cultural reckoning. We invite you into this effort openly by sharing regular updates on specific action items. Step one is assembling a new Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) team to consider how The Wolf can more thoughtfully live up to our values and strengthen our commitment to serve Black communities and other people of color. This team's responsibility will be long-term, providing input and direction for all that we are and do.
Our modern-age holdings contain many items that bear witness to our nation’s troubling history of racism and to the power of resistance movements. The Wolfsonian mission, too, compels us to consider other perspectives, to continually educate ourselves, and to challenge expected narratives. With this in mind we will mature from the inside out to become better stewards of a collection so evocative of America's darkest chapters and resonant with today, carrying that mission forward as more informed and empathetic citizens. The work begins with us.
Follow our progress here.
– the Wolfsonian team
- ACLU: Greater Miami Chapter
- Black Art Futures Fund
- Black Visions Collective
- Dream Defenders
- National Bail Fund Network
- National Museum of African American History & Culture: Talking About Race
- New York Times: An Antiracist Reading List
The Wolfsonian is dedicated to a multidimensional approach to institutional change. Our team believes in taking decisive action to make our museum more inclusive, accessible, welcoming, and representative.
To that end, we are planning and pursuing a range of DEAI initiatives under the guidance of an internal DEAI council. These initiatives run the gamut from our internal procedures to the content we offer and our outreach to the South Florida community.
We are also convinced that this moment calls for special attention to Black voices and concerns. Within the commitments listed below—some of which can be realized quickly, while others will take time—we have already taken concrete measures to engage Black collaborators and create exhibitions and programs that address Black experiences.
What follows is a list of actions we promise to take:
- Strengthen collection representation of BIPOC makers and experiences.
- Prioritize cataloguing acquisitions and focus research on enhancing knowledge about objects and library materials relating to BIPOC history and makers.
- Engage BIPOC scholars in examining and responding to Wolfsonian materials.
- Improve digital access to objects and their stories through online platforms like Google Arts & Culture.
New acquisitions + gifts: promotional brochures from HBCUs; jewelry by Art Smith, Ida Payton, Antonio Piñeda, and others; a studio craft bench by George Nakashima; The Life of George Washington Carver, a mural painting by C. Ford; Let My People Go - Now! sheet music with lyrics by Langston Hughes; and varied library material documenting experiences of Black American war veterans
Exhibitions + Programs
- Develop a network of BIPOC collaborators.
- Present exhibitions and programs that offer inclusive narratives.
On the calendar: Scottsboro: Impressions in Black and White; Art for Justice; a virtual exhibition on the Harlem Renaissance and associated Curator's Choice program; #WolfWatch sessions on Ornette: Made in America and The Last Angel of Historyas well as an O Cinema screening of Within Our Gates; We're Here, We're Queer, and We're Making Zines, examining past and present zines from LGBTQIA+ communities; Yard Sale x Lucy St., a Design Store pop-up curated by artist Chris Friday and featuring items made exclusively by artists of color; and Mark Mamolen programs on Black housing in Miami, Liberty Square's Legacy and Call Me If You Get Lost
Community + Student Engagement
- Seek input and feedback from beyond the museum.
- Lower barriers and raise capacity in all K–12 and Youth & Family programs by offering supplies and transportation, and concentrate programs to coordinate with Title I schools.
- Encourage K–12 student interest in pursuing museum careers through early awareness programs tailored to underserved communities.
- Create non-traditional avenues for lifelong learning (e.g. micro-credentialing systems, Programs on Demand about social justice, equality, and inclusion, etc.).
- Seek funding to compensate all undergraduate and graduate interns.
- Empower students to take active roles in steering the future of the museum through advisory roles, focus groups, etc.
Launched initiatives: FIU Museums Insiders program
Internal Processes + Leadership
- Align with recruitment practices, hiring reform, professional development resources, relationship building, and inclusivity training outlined in FIU's Equity Action Initiative Proposal.
- Increase the diversity of the Wolfsonian Advisory Board.
- Commit to an annual diversity audit by the Wolfsonian DEAI Council, publishing an annual report and providing regular DEAI updates to staff.