"Inclusion” is a word, a concept, a value, a set of practices, but what should it mean for museum staff and leaders as they envision new ways of being a museum in an emergent future? Political and environmental upheavals, and now a global pandemic, are transforming the museum landscape forever. How can our paradigm for understanding inclusion continue to transform as well? This book offers a new paradigm for understanding inclusion grounded in a retrospective of museum worker efforts to test the limits of inclusion, a reflection on inclusion’s advantages and limitations in practice, as well as the integral concerns of racial equity and social justice. Questions throughout the book invite readers to reflect on how their own experiences can add to, and expand on, new ways of thinking about inclusion in museums. Museum workers and lovers can use this book as a tool for engaging with “inclusion” anew, and as a terrain for collaborative inquiry and world-building that can help us imagine and realize new potential for museums in the future.
Dr. Porchia Moore is an innovative thought-leader, cultural heritage scholar, outdoor enthusiast, writer, artist, curator, and museum consultant specializing in racial equity. She is committed to creating a world that is verdant, free of anti-blackness, joy-filled, and uplifts the material culture and world heritage of all peoples. She is co-director of The Incluseum.
Dr. Rose Paquet is a writer, artist, and facilitator. She works with people to use the power of the imagination to dream and enact future possibilities that center community care in its widest understanding––care for the body and soul, care for both human and non-human kin, care for the soil beneath our feet, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Rose co-founded The Incluseum in 2012 and currently acts as co-director.
Aletheia Wittman is a consultant, coach, and facilitator based in Seattle. She partners with people and teams navigating inclusive transformation within cultural institutions. She co-founded The Incluseum in 2012 and currently acts as co-director.
Statement of Gratitude
Chapter 1: What is Inclusion? A genealogy of Inclusion in museums
Chapter 2: On the Limits of Inclusion
Chapter 3: Opening up to Transformation
Chapter 4: Implications for the Field
Chapter 5: Future Visioning
Blogposts and Authors
About the Authors
Much like public schools, public museums are often vexing institutions. But history shows that organizing and struggle works; museums can be moved toward openness and inclusion, as this indispensable and inspiring book details. Its authors declare, 'We must act before the cycle of forgetting begins again' and Transforming Inclusion in Museums makes that invitation irresistible.
The Incluseum, through the leadership of Porchia Moore, Rose Paquet, and Aletheia Wittman, has contributed immensely to building a vocabulary, a world view, and a guide to social justice work in the museum field. This book provides a reflection on and a documentation of this important work, including a much-needed history of museum social action in the last decade. Transforming Inclusion in Museums: The Power of Collaborative Inquiry should be on the bookshelves of all who wish to understand the evolution of inclusion as a concept as well as its power to change museums today and in the future.
This highly engaging book draws on the authors’ richly nuanced body of collective knowledge and experience to offer up a critical and deep examination of the shifting concept of inclusion. Their insightful and expansive analysis reveals the urgent need for cultural institutions to go far beyond half-hearted, sometimes grudging and bolt-on, efforts to invite in new voices and experiences towards a radical remaking that tackles systemic and deep rooted cultures of inequity. As generous and compelling as it is challenging, this important book is essential reading for anyone interested in the social potentials and possibilities of the museum.
Transforming Inclusion in Museums is an essential guide with timely questions, insights, wisdom, and foundational teachings for the deep work needed to build more inclusive, equitable, and accessible cultural institutions.
Transforming Inclusion in Museums speaks directly to those who care about inclusion in the museum. The book’s pages are filled with resolve, energy, urgency and great deal more to inspire and equip us all to join the movement to transform museums.