Encyclopedic museums like the Minneapolis Institute of Art are massive, slow-moving beasts created and shaped by the wealthy elite. But that is slowly changing, thanks to a homegrown Mia project that’s become a national movement. MASS Action, which stands for Museum as Site for Social Action, seeks to empower museum professionals through deeper conversations about equity and inclusion and ultimately a shift in the institutional structure itself. “I think of the museum as a giant ship that takes so long to turn, but they are steered — they are made up of humans,” said Elisabeth Callihan, Mia’s head of multigenerational learning. “So MASS Action is thinking about how we can turn that inward.” Callihan realized the potential for this networking approach to change in 2015 at the Annual Alliance of Museums Conference, which coincided with protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal injury in police custody. While business as usual continued at the conference, “One camp was like: ‘How are we as cultural and historical institutions not addressing history?’ ” Callihan said. “It was at that moment that I realized we are not the only ones struggling with this topic.” She raised the issue… Read full this story
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