RACE: Are We So Different?

Museums Advancing Racial Justice

As gathering places for conversation and exploration within our communities, museums are an important part of America’s cultural fabric. As part of its Our Shared Future: Reckoning with our Racial Past initiative, the Smithsonian Institution has partnered with the Science Museum of Minnesota to host and facilitate Museums Advancing Racial Justice, a three-day convening for professionals in the museum and cultural institution community, in April 2024. 

Held at the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul, this action-oriented and collaborative event will empower participants to embark upon the initial steps of in-depth workshops centered on policy, programming, and community engagement.

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About the Convening 

The convening is designed to bring museum professionals together to share, imagine, and grow together. It will be specifically action oriented and designed for participants to collaborate on work already happening at their organization. Work time will be prioritized with the idea that this convening is not the first step in an organization's equity journey but a push to a new level of action. Institutions are eligible to receive a mini-grant of $10,000 for the purpose of supporting the implementation of one of initiatives or projects they started at the convening. Learn more about the background of the project and the individuals making it possible.

Image of two people in the Race Exhibit

Museums Advancing Racial Justice will take place April 15-17, 2024 at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul.

The convening will gather professionals from museums and cultural institutions who have made significant contributions and commitments to the advancement of racial justice in their field.

Speaker at Science Fusion - African Americans in Stem

The event will be entirely free for all participants (up to three from each participating organization); the Smithsonian is assuming all costs related to participation in the project, including travel, lodging, and food stipends.

Applications for the convening have closed, thank you for your submissions! Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions the week of December 18, 2023. Please reach out to marj@smm.org with any questions.

Museums Advancing Racial Justice will focus on a different subject each day:

  • The Past: Presenters will share triumphs and challenges in their history of working through the lens of race over the last several decades.

  • The Present: Presenters will focus on the continuing work of the last several years.

  • The Future: Presenters will imagine the future of racial justice and anti-racism in the field of cultural institutions, zeroing in on developing practices and perspectives that have shown promise.

Sessions will be themed in three tracks: community engagement, program/curriculum development, and internal systems change. Participants can join sessions from multiple tracks or focus on one as they choose. 

The content will be curated to meet the needs of participants and the content, tools, and frameworks will be available for online access once the convening is complete. 

Project evaluation — from ideation through to the utilization of mini-granting funds — will help us measure:

  • Our potential to successfully increase knowledge

  • Our ability to help organizations plan for further action

  • Tools and methodologies that help foster a supportive network

  • What contributes to the success of a mini-grant project