In October 2020 the Morgan Library & Museum launched its first six-month Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) Action Plan. This second plan, which runs through December 2023, continues our efforts to make the Morgan a more welcoming, equitable, and inclusive space for staff, volunteers, and visitors alike. Both plans were collaboratively developed with input from staff across the organization.
Some activities represent ongoing commitments, while others are new endeavors. Listed below each focus area are ongoing commitments and new endeavors that will accomplish these goals. The first step for selected projects will be to gain a thorough understanding of the resources required for successful completion. We will use the knowledge gained from this preparatory work to augment this plan or to inform future DEAI work. This framework will allow us to build on our progress while encouraging new ideas to germinate.
As we contribute to the diversification of expertise in our field; amplify underrepresented voices in our collections, exhibitions, and programs; engage new audiences; and build a more empathetic and just Morgan community, our primary goal remains to effect enduring change and progress.
Pipeline, Hiring, and Retention
As part of our first DEAI plan, we launched the Belle da Costa Greene Fellowships. We intend to continue this program while fortifying other pipeline programs that will increase diversity among the Morgan’s staff, thereby contributing to the broader diversification of the art museum and special collection fields.
- Secure funding to continue to offer Belle da Costa Greene Fellowships, which began as a pilot program in 2019. The program awards two-year graduate or postgraduate fellowships to two promising scholars from communities historically underrepresented in the art museum and special collections fields.
- Launch a paid internship program in departments across the organization, offering robust professional development opportunities for participants.
- Create a DEAI hiring and retention tool kit and train managers on how to support the development and retention of a diverse staff.
- Use best practices to identify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) candidates as well as applicants from other underrepresented groups for all open positions, including by expanding our networks and the sites on which we post positions, requiring hiring managers to report efforts, and retaining recruiters with demonstrated experience in identifying diverse candidates (when applicable).
- Track and report to the staff DEAI committee on employee demographics on a quarterly basis.
Exhibitions, Acquisitions, and Collection Information
All curatorial departments, supported by our recently formed collections DEAI committee, are working to make our exhibition program and collections more inclusive. Through the stewardship of these groups, the Morgan will continue to explore six thousand years of the creative process, amplifying underrepresented voices and reexamining works of the past through multiple perspectives.
- Strive to amplify at every opportunity the voices of women, artists of color, and people from other underrepresented groups, as well as to present exhibitions that reach beyond traditional narratives and audiences through content, interpretation, programming, and marketing.
- As appropriate to each curatorial department, diversify acquisitions with regard to race, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation.
- Continue to develop our critical and ethical cataloging and inclusive language guidelines, launched as part of our first DEAI plan, and apply them consistently across our data sets, publications, exhibitions, and communications.
- Increase inclusivity of permanent collection didactics, such as by introducing previously untold narratives.
- Implement a system for crediting staff work, first on exhibitions and subsequently on other institutional projects, so that authorship and labor are recognized.
As the Morgan nears its centenary in 2024, we are developing a set of exhibitions, programs, and digital initiatives that will present our history to on-site and online visitors. Over the next two years, these projects will enable us to share a richer and more complete institutional record.
- Revise the presentation of the Morgan’s history, incorporating inclusive and anti-racist approaches on-site, online, and in our audio guide.
- Create an internal digital hub for Morgan history resources and launch updated institutional history training for docents, volunteers, and staff.
- Develop and share a suite of videos focused on Belle da Costa Greene, the Morgan’s inaugural director.
- Finalize and implement a land acknowledgment that recognizes the original Indigenous inhabitants of the Morgan’s site and honors their historical and enduring relationship with that land.
Education, Public Programs, and Audience Development
Over the past three years, the Morgan has created new systems for gathering and analyzing feedback from visitors. With this research as our launchpad, we will incorporate underrepresented voices into our programming, expand the reach of on-site and online initiatives, and further diversify our audiences.
- Amplify underrepresented voices, including women as well as artists, writers, and scholars of color, in our educational and public programs and through our ongoing social media programming, blog posts and videos.
- Present programs each year in multiple languages, including Spanish.
- Identify a broader translation project to support the expansion of our audience beyond English-speakers and build a resource plan to implement it.
- Develop and launch a pilot teen program designed to reach youth from underrepresented backgrounds for the 2022–23 academic year.
- Continue to host and promote events that engage diverse college students. Develop a strategy to bolster our engagement with college students on a variety of levels, both in-person and online, and build a resource plan for implementation.
- Develop a plan to maximize the effectiveness of our Free Fridays program in support of our DEAI goals and build a resource plan for implementation.
The Morgan’s campus comprises separate structures that were built at different times. We are committed to making the experience of moving throughout the campus easier for all our visitors and staff. This commitment to accessibility will extend to our exhibition and program design as well.
- Develop a capital project plan to improve the accessibility of elevators and the Madison Avenue entrance doors.
- Identify and scope projects to make the Morgan’s website more accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities, and develop a long-term implementation proposal, including required resources.
- Clarify goals for our access tours, which are designed to engage and accommodate visitors with disabilities, and develop a strategy and resource plan to meet these goals.
- Develop guidelines to improve exhibition-design accessibility above and beyond required Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.
Board and Donor Engagement
The Morgan staff and board of trustees will work in partnership, and with renewed commitment, to achieve the institution’s DEAI goals. This includes diversification of all donor groups, from museum members and patrons to board members.
- Report on DEAI progress at each meeting of the board of trustees.
- Continue to identify potential board candidates, visiting committee members, and young patrons in order to better reflect the community at large.
- Increase cultivation of diverse patrons by working with professional associations and alumni groups; undertake research to broaden this list and track engagement.
The Morgan Community
In fall 2020 all Morgan staff took part in anti-racist training. Four learning sessions created space for reflection, community building, and growth. As part of the second DEAI plan, we will build on those sessions to create a more inclusive work environment.
- Undertake ongoing DEAI and anti-racist training and learning opportunities for full- and part-time staff, volunteers, and others who contribute to the Morgan’s work.
- Continue to support the production of a staff newsletter to promote communication and build community across departments.
- Incorporate inclusive language into intake forms for new employees.
- Foster casual exchanges across departments by opening an outdoor break space in summer 2022, improving indoor break spaces, and/or identifying new spaces to be used for staff gatherings.
- Gather feedback from staff to develop an architectural program that addresses long-term needs for break spaces; solicit bids from architectural firms for the concept design.
- Investigate and implement a better system for gathering ongoing feedback from the Facilities Department and other staff who interact regularly with visitors and continue to find ways to publicly acknowledge their work.
- Include a complete staff list on the Morgan’s website.
Equity and Transparency
In summer 2021 the Morgan began updating job descriptions for roles across the institution. This effort launched a series of initiatives designed to increase pay transparency, provide all staff with equitable and appropriate compensation, and augment the engagement of minority- and women-owned vendors.
- Update job descriptions for all positions to ensure each employee has a clear and concise document summarizing core responsibilities, which can then be used for job assessment and career planning.
- Establish pay differentials for security staff to better reflect varying responsibilities.
- Engage a consultant to begin a compensation study and development of a “pay band” system.
- In tandem with the compensation study, research options for supporting the healthcare costs of part-time employees.
- Practice pay transparency in all job postings except in very limited circumstances.
- Develop a list of regularly used vendors and determine which are registered as Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) and/or are minority-or women-owned.
- Implement institution-wide vendor guidelines to facilitate engagement of MWBE.
- Track investment managers’ diversity and inclusion metrics and policies, and review them regularly with the investments subcommittee of the board of trustees. Develop an environmental, social, and governance policy for stewardship of the Morgan’s endowment assets.
The Morgan undertook several campus improvements over the last eighteen months to ensure that our facilities are operating in a safe and energy-efficient manner. Marquee initiatives include upgrades to the HVAC system on portions of our campus and the installation of new cooling towers. Our efforts will continue in this area as each department considers ways to operate in a more energy-efficient and environmentally conscious manner.
- Ask each department’s staff to consider and report back on steps they can take independently to work more sustainably.
- Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Morgan’s energy usage, waste and recycling management, and other environmental impacts. Create a sustainability plan to be incorporated into the Morgan’s long-term institutional plan in partnership with an experienced sustainability consultant.
See also the Morgan's statement on critical cataloging.