Diversity, the Foundation for a Strong Museum


Whether you are walking the galleries of the Prado in Madrid or enjoying the hustle and bustle of the Metropolitan Art Museum of New York City, the one thing that you can expect from any great museum is the wide range of diversity within their overall collections. Over the last few decades, museums have made it a point to enhance the their collections with a variety of selections and pieces from different eras and different cultures. The reason for this change is actually quite simple. Diversity, especially between cultures, provides new waves within a workforce, innovative perspectives within a program, and, last but not least, new products and services within the galleries themselves. While the mission to increase diversity of cultural and ethnic heritages within various museum art collections has grown, there is still much work to be done in reaching its full overarching goal.


Unlike any other tourist spot, museums have a unique opportunity to examine cultural diversity in the most optimal way. Their collections and exhibitions allow their visitors to reflect on a variety of ethnical heritages that, in turn, help shape the standard bias mentality of a general public to a more open-minded perspective for different and unknown cultures. Since education is a primary factor in all museums, museums, especially modern day art galleries, need to focus on the learning factor than the name and brand of a new piece. This, in itself, allows for museums to be more accepting and welcoming to new and diverse options.


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While many art critics and museums can defend that their institutions is a melting pot of different artists and cultures, many, including some of the greats, have fallen into a more systemic practice that includes showcasing bigger name artist and specific popular eras. Though these collections maybe appeal to a majority of the public, the inexcusable exclusion for some unknown pieces, either because of the anonymous culture or unknown era, can be damaging to the visitors and the youth in a multitude of ways. The reason, in itself, is simple. Education is the key to how multiculturalism can be accepted within the consciousness of a generation. Any exclusion (of an artwork) because of its ‘unknown’ criteria can damage the tolerance, acceptance, and appreciation of an entire culture.


To help aid in museums efforts in increasing its diversity within their collections, they need to both showcase and educate their visitors about the background and history of an exhibit. Take for example the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With the Ancient Egyptian exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MET did an incredible job marketing and educating their visitors in discovering and exploring a new culture. Much of this practice required educational pamphlets and intuitive marketing strategies to help raise awareness and knowledge for the entire collection. Like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, museums should begin taking this new approach in marketing their more diverse collections to the public. While it may take some time, the end results will always be rewarding.