May 22, 2020 / News & Blog

Reopening with Equity in Mind: Opportunities for Culturally Relevant Practice in Museums

This post was produced in collaboration with the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, museums—like so many other institutions and sectors—are being asked to reimagine themselves: Will hands-on exhibits ever be the same? When and how can we reopen safely for our staff and our visitors? In the face of these existential questions, how can we keep equity front and center?

On May 19, the Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI) hosted a webinar about the opportunities for culturally relevant practice for museums during this time of crisis. During the webinar:

  • Cecilia Garibay, Principal, Garibay Group shared concrete areas of operations for rebuilding with an equity lens, drawing from CCLI’s Fall 2019 study on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) practices in the museum field (from 7:20 in the video below).
  • Museum leaders from CCLI alumni organizations offered reflections on how they are thinking about equity amidst this pandemic (from 19:58 in the video below).
  • Dana Whitelaw, Executive Director, High Desert Museum (Bend, Oregon) discussed her thinking around strategic planning, navigating staffing, and skilling up through an equity lens.
  • Jennifer Farrington, President & CEO, Chicago Children’s Museum (Chicago, Illinois) shared her experience with prioritizing authentic and effective community relationships and partnerships.
  • Elizabeth Pierce, President & CEO, Cincinnati Museum Center (Cincinnati, Ohio) offered how she is mobilizing her museum as a resource for equity in her community.
  • Laura Huerta Migus, Executive Director, Association of Children’s Museums moderated a Q&A covering creative ways to center equity in membership, partnership, revenue generation, and more in this challenging time (from 41:45 in the video below).


  • Slides from the webinar can be found here.
  • If you would like to assess where your institution is in its DEAI journey, check out this self-assessment tool to take stock of your institution’s cultural competence.
  • See more resources, case studies, and information about the CCLI program at the CCLI website.

Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI) is a partnership between the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, the Association of Children’s Museums, and the Garibay Group.