The museum field is experiencing a critical gaze that is both “of the moment” and long overdue. Museums were built as colonial enterprises and are slow to awaken to the harm caused by their actions which are not limited to the capturing and keeping of Indigenous ancestors, the exclusion and erasure of Black voices, bodies, and creativity, and the positioning of white power in the C-suite and board rooms. For decades, the conversation about equity and inclusion in the museum field has become louder. It is no longer possible to ignore the systemic racism embedded in our society and our profession.
The Inclusive Museum Leader offers insights and perspectives from two recognized museums leaders who have joined together to offer practical solutions and opportunities for today’s museum leaders. Authors share their journeys to becoming inclusive leaders, as well as decisions they have made and actions they have taken to build equitable practices within their organizations.
Throughout the book are personal exercises and provocations the reader is invited to respond to, making the book a valuable tool for any museum leader looking to enhance their style and re-frame their decision-making process.
Working in museums for more than twenty years, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko believes they have the power to change lives, inspire movements, and challenge authority.
A museum director since 2001, Cinnamon is a frequent presenter at national museum meetings and is often asked to comment on national museum issues. As the president/CEO of the Abbe Museum (Bar Harbor) from 2009 to 2019, she was the motivational leader behind the museum's decolonization initiative, working with the Native communities in Maine to develop policies and protocols to ensure collaboration and cooperation with Wabanaki people. Prior to joining the Abbe in 2009, Cinnamon was the director of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana where she led the organization to the National Medal for Museum Service in 2008. In 2019, Cinnamon became the director of the Illinois State Museum. Cinnamon holds a BA in anthropology and art history from Purdue University, and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) MA program in anthropology with a specialization in museum studies.
In 2016 Cinnamon gave her first TEDx talk, We Must Decolonize Our Museums (www.tedxdirigo.com) and she's been featured on the Museopunks podcast series. She's the author of Museum Administration 2.0 (2016) published by Rowman & Littlefield, The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection (2004) published by the Indiana Historical Society, and co-editor of the Small Museum Toolkit (2012) published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Chris Taylor spent 15 years working in museums, primarily at the Minnesota Historical Society. He began his career as an educator, but quickly saw the power that history can have on an individual’s identity. Through the stories they elevate (or suppress), museums have the power to either fortify or disrupt the status quo, but Chris came to understand that this must be an intentional choice. He began teaching undergraduate courses at the University of Minnesota on “Diversity in the Museum Field” as part of a museum fellowship program designed to increase the diversity of museum professionals. At the Minnesota Historical Society, he successfully created the department of inclusion and community engagement to steward the museums systemic efforts for inclusion and equity. He also became the first chief inclusion officer in the museum field, a role he occupied for 4 years. Museums around the country sought out Chris as a consultant for their inclusion and equity efforts. In 2019, Chris Taylor was recruited to become the chief inclusion officer for the state of Minnesota, one of only two states to have such a position. There he leads the development and implementation of a statewide strategy for inclusion and equity across over 20 state agencies. His publications include "Getting Our House in Order: Moving from Diversity to Inclusion" published in The American Archivist.
PART ONE - SETTING THE STAGE
1. With Fierce Intention
by Joanne Jones-Rizzi (she/her)
Black/bi-racial/queer/cisgender/no known disabilities
2. The Three-Body Problem of Museums
by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko (she/her)
White/female/straight/cisgender/middle class/no known disabilities
3. Creating the Just Leader: Inclusive Leadership and Organizational Justice
by Chris Taylor (he/him)
biracial/male/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko and Chris Taylor
Examining Implicit Bias Activity
PART TWO - CHANGE IS REQUIRED
5. Anatomy of a Movement
by Armando Perla (he/him)
POC/Latinx/male/queer/cisgender/living with disabilities
6. How Should Inclusive Museum Leadership Respond to COVID-(16)19?
by Omar Eaton-Martínez (he/him)
Black Puerto Rican/male/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
7. Hope is Not a Metaphor: An Annotated Guide to 25 Essential Skills for Museum Leaders
by Lisa Yun Lee (she/her)
Asian/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
8. 2020: A Harsh Teacher for Leaders
by Terri Lee Freeman (she/her)
Black/female/cisgender/no known disabilities
9. Doing the Work: Because Checking the Box is not Enough
by Dina A. Bailey (she/her)
biracial/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
10. To Be of Use and Beloved: A Conversation with Kelly McKinley
Kelly McKinley (she/her)
White/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
The Johari Window Activity
PART THREE - INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP
11. Dear White Colleague: Thoughts on Inclusive Museum Leadership from a Colleague of Color
by Lisa Sasaki (she/her)
Asian American/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
12. Beyond a Scarcity Mindset: My Path Toward Inclusive Leadership
by Ashley Rogers (she/her)
White/female/cisgender/no known disabilities
13. Diary of a Woke Latina Leader
by Susana Smith Bautista (she/her)
White/Latina/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
Developing Self Awareness Activity
14. Motion Sickness: Care, Compassion, and the Future of Museums
by Esme Ward
by Devon M. Akmon (he/him)
16. Grounded in Community: A Conversation with Stacey Halfmoon
Stacey Halfmoon (she/her)
American Indian/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
The Ladder of Inference Activity
PART FOUR – VALUES AND ACTION
17. Inclusive Design Centers Disabled People’s Agency
by Beth Ziebarth (she/her)
18. Begin with the End in Mind: Inclusion as a Core Museum Practice
by LaNesha DeBardelaben (she/her)
Black/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
19. Museum Leaders as Allies for Queer Inclusion
by Margaret Middleton (they/them)
White/genderqueer/no known disabilities
20. Leading Change at the Speed of Trust: A Conversation with Ben Garcia
Ben Garcia (he/him)
Latinx/cisgender/queer/no known disabilities
Identifying Values Activity
PART FIVE - CHOOSING YOUR ENVIRONMENT
21. How to Spot an Inclusive Leader and Choose to Work for Them
by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell (she/her)
Black/biracial/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
22. Teaching the Change We Want to See: A Conversation with Faculty at Museum Training Programs
Elizabeth Kryder-Reid (she/her)
White/female/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
Stacey Mann (she/her)
Therese Quinn (she/her/they/them)
queer/cisgendered female/labeled White, aiming to be a race traitor/raised working class, still paycheck-to-paycheck
Cynthia Robinson (she/her)
Mattie Reynolds (she/her)
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma/female/straight
Gretchen Sullivan Sorin (she/her)
23. Helping Boards to See Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Clearly: A Conversation with Naree Viner
Naree W.S. Viner (she/her)
24. Practical Ambition: Positioning Inclusive Board Member Ethic as Basic Board Duty
by Tonya M. Matthews (she/her/dr)
25. Building Inclusivity With and Within the Board
by Lori Fogarty
Taking Inventory Activity
PART SIX - LOOKING AHEAD
26. What Kind of Ancestor Will I Be?
by Bob Beatty (he/him)
White/male/straight/cisgender/single-sided deafness from infancy
27. Stepping Out to Step In: A Conversation with nikhil trivedi
nikhil trivedi (he/him)
South Asian/male/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities/middle class/raised working class/Hindu/US citizen
28. A Call to Action: Putting Inclusion to Work
by Robert ‘Bert’ Davis (he/him)
African American/male/straight/cisgender/no known disabilities
Developing Your Leadership Philosophy Activity
The Inclusive Museum Leader provides unique, first-Voice perspectives on how museums can and should position themselves to best service the needs, interests, and priorities of deserving, diverse communities. Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko and Chris Taylor have long labored in museum trenches doing the good work of lifting up the necessary stories and voices to counterbalance the legacies of exclusion and erasure and to promote the principles and strategies of diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility. Museum professionals at all levels of experience and expertise would do well to add this volume to their reading list.
The Inclusive Museum Leader should be required reading for all museum professionals. This brilliant and urgently needed book provides critical reflection and deep and rigorous analysis of the steps needed to achieve a more inclusive museum world. Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko and Chris Taylor have assembled an amazing group of museum leaders and scholars to think through effective leadership styles that will enable transformative practices in museums. It is time for museums to assist with efforts towards social justice, community healing, and empowerment, and this superb book provides a road map on how to achieve these necessary goals. The book is well researched, the prose lively and engaging, and will serve as an invaluable resource for all those seeking to understand how museums can, and should, promote inclusion and social justice in the 21st century.
This book has so much heart and hope for our field. Thank you to the editors and authors for pointing the way forward, toward museums that are equitable, accountable, reflective, and human--from the inside out.
The Inclusive Museum Leader offers a refreshingly candid insight into museum leadership for the twenty-first century. The editors and contributors confront the troubling trends in diversity, equity & inclusion work and challenge the reader to deeper more deliberate approach to leadership.