‘ … Yet, it is still very White’: structural and cultural impediments to DEAI change in science museums

March 23rd, 2022 | RESEARCH

Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI) work in museums is multifaceted, but typically approached from the perspective of external audiences and outcomes rather than a change in internal organizational culture. This article discusses findings from a research study examining what happened in five US science museums that were making a concerted, officially recognized effort towards internal change, and explores what those findings reveal about field-wide barriers to appreciable systemic change along with the impacts of the current status quo on marginalized staff. This study focused specifically on science museums in the US, but we believe findings are also applicable to the broader field of informal learning to activate museum leadership in all disciplines to engage in systemic internal DEAI change by confronting tensions between mission and equity, and tackling hard issues by accepting the risk of discomfort rather than diverting emotional work to marginalized staff in a bottom–up approach to change.



Team Members

Gretchen Haupt, Author, Science Museum of Minnesota
Marjorie Bequette, Author, Science Museum of Minnesota
Megan Goeke, Author, Science Museum of Minnesota
Choua Her, Author, Minneapolis Public Schools


Identifier Type: DOI
Identifier: https://doi.org/10.1080/09647775.2022.2052161

Publication: Museum Management and Curatorship
Volume: Online
Number: Online
Page(s): Online


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1612640
Funding Amount: $1,000,000

Related URLs

iPAGE - Developing a Model for Broadening Participation in Informal STEM Institutions


Access and Inclusion: Ethnic | Racial
Audience: Administration | Leadership | Policymakers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: General STEM | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs