During the past two months, we have been listening to our staff, members, visitors, and members of the community. We are grateful for the candid thoughts, personal experiences, and genuine concerns many have expressed in direct response to VMFA’s statement of support for the protests that began after George Floyd’s murder. Listening to your stories required us to pause and reflect on our own institution—where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we need to be. Museums everywhere are at a crossroads, facing the consequences of long-standing and entrenched inequities rooted in racism, gender discrimination, and classism. VMFA is no exception.
Although during the past five years, we have earnestly embraced the tenants of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as guiding principles, we know we have more work to do. During the past several weeks, VMFA staff and leadership have engaged in important discussions about how to move forward as an institution. Leadership at every level continues to listen and learn from this valuable feedback as we refine our action plan as part of our strategic plan.
Developing a thoughtful, comprehensive plan—in consultation with staff and leadership—that outlines specific and measurable goals as well as milestones is crucial, and we look forward to sharing information on our progress. In the community, the museum will continue to expand its outreach, building new partnerships. With strengthened commitment to improving our internal culture, VMFA will continuously and vigilantly pursue equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility—indispensable core values that authenticate our mission to enrich the lives of all.