Press Release

THE CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM SELECTED BY AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF MUSEUMS FOR PARTICIPATION IN GROUNDBREAKING NATIONAL INITIATIVE TO INCREASE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ON MUSEUM BOARDS

(San Francisco, CA, September 5, 2019) The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) has been selected by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) to participate in Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion. This unprecedented national initiative to diversify museum boards and leadership is taking place across five U.S. cities and includes a cross-section of museums of all types and sizes.   

Backed by $4 million in grants from three foundations (The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Ford Foundation), Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion, will provide the framework, training, and resources for museum leaders to build inclusive cultures within their institutions that more accurately reflect the communities they serve.

“The Contemporary Jewish Museum is honored to be included in the Facing Change grant and capacity building initiative,” said Board Chair, Elliott Felson. “As a contemporary Jewish museum whose mission is to explore the diversity of Jewish experience through exhibitions and programs that challenge, educate and inspire, it is important for The CJM’s Board of volunteers to be reflective of racial and ethnic diversity within the Jewish community, as well as that of the myriad non-Jewish communities we serve.”

“Building a more inclusive museum field is achievable only with museums trustees and leaders committed to long-term change and improvement,” said Laura Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums.  “Museum boards, in particular, set the tone for their institutions and are well positioned to be agents of change. We commend the museum directors and trustees who have committed to this program for investing in their own operations and serving as models for all museums.”

Earlier this year, as part of the Facing Change initiative, AAM announced an Excellence in DEAI Task Force charged with developing recommendations to embed diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion more deeply into AAM’s excellence programs. AAM also named ten DEAI fellows who will work with AAM to implement trainings and support the museum boards in developing sustainable and measurable inclusion plans.

The Need for Action

AAM’s field-wide diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) initiative responds to extensive and multi-year research that underscores the need and desire for change.

In 2017, AAM and BoardSource examined museum board leadership and found a disconnect in the area of diversity and inclusion. The survey revealed that nearly half (46 percent) of museum boards are entirely white, 77 percent of museum directors believe expanding the racial and ethnic diversity of their boards is important to advancing their missions, but only 10 percent of museum boards have developed a plan of action to become more inclusive.

A recent survey by the Mellon Foundation demonstrated that employment in the US museum sector does not reflect the makeup of the communities these institutions serve, despite decades of local and national efforts.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

About The Contemporary Jewish Museum

With the opening of its new building on June 8, 2008, The Contemporary Jewish Museum ushered in a new chapter in its twenty-plus year history of engaging audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in hands-on activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase L’Chaim (To Life), the building is a physical embodiment of The CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the twenty-first century.

Major support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s educational programs for youth, young adults, and families with young children comes from Jim Joseph Foundation. The Museum thanks the Koret Foundation for major support of Jewish Peoplehood exhibitions and programs. Additional major support is provided by an anonymous donor;  Bank of America; The Covenant Foundation; Suzanne and Elliott Felson; Gaia Fund; Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Grants for the Arts; Walter and Elise Haas Fund; The Hearst Foundations; Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Wendy Kesser; Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; Nellie and Max Levchin; 706 Mission Co LLC; The Bernard Osher Foundation; Lisa Stone Pritzker; John Pritzker; Dorothy R. Saxe; Seiger Family Foundation; Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture; United States Department of Homeland Security; and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Major support for The Museum’s Helen Diller Institute is generously provided by The Helen Diller Family Foundation.

For more information about The Contemporary Jewish Museum, visit The Museum’s website at thecjm.org.

PRESS CONTACTS

Nina Sazevich

Public Relations, The Contemporary Jewish Museum
415.752.2483
nina@sazevichpr.com

Sarah Bailey Hogarty

Director of Marketing and Communications, The Contemporary Jewish Museum
415.655.7834
sbaileyhogarty@thecjm.org

David Harrison

Publicist, American Alliance of Museums
410.804.1728
david@harrisoncommunications.net