Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion

The following Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion plan was completed over the course of October 2020 to March 2021. A new long-term plan is available.

6-MONTH PLAN (October 2020–March 2021)

Recent events have brought new awareness and urgency to longstanding issues, both within the Morgan Library & Museum and in the wider cultural community. We are united in our belief that significant transformation is needed to change the ways that museums and archives benefit from and reinforce harmful societal norms, including racism and white supremacy, and are expanding and reenergizing our efforts to make the Morgan a more welcoming, equitable, and inclusive institution for visitors, employees, and volunteers alike.

This work will not be simple, fast, or easy. Although we are launching this effort during a difficult financial period shaped by the uncertainty of a global pandemic, we are committed to making the necessary investment of time and the judicious allocation of resources. This work will also involve the efforts of individuals at every level of the organization. It will call for transparency, active listening, and new ways of working.

Many goals in the action plan below were proposed and pursued by the Morgan’s staff-organized Black Lives Matter Working Group (BLMWG), which formed in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many more Black Americans. Other initiatives are longstanding institutional commitments that began to take shape with the formation of our Staff DEAI Committee in 2017 and presentations to the Board in 2019. Others have grown out of the conversations of our staff groups, discussions with our Trustees, and the advice and experience of our colleagues across the field.

This document focuses on the critical work of the next six months. Some of this work has already been completed or is  under way. Other tasks are yet to be tackled. Together, the work of the next few months will inform long-term initiatives and strategies that will span many years and will continue to evolve and grow.

The ultimate, overarching goal is enduring change and progress.


Anti-racist and diversity training and education

Through December 2020

  • Commence anti-racism and diversity training for all employees and active volunteers.
  • Join cross-institutional meetings with New York cultural organizations to gather and share information about best practices.

Through March 2021

  • Create long-term plan for ongoing staff development with regard to diversity, access, equity, and inclusion.


Inclusive and Transparent DEAI Work and Communications

Through December 2020

  • Expand Staff DEAI Committee to include wider variety of staff.
  • Establish new Collections Committee tasked with diversifying exhibitions, collections, and programming, and to promote more inclusive interpretive strategies.
  • Facilitate communications across various staff committees by publishing committee minutes and providing updates on DEAI initiatives at every all staff meeting and in a new staff newsletter.
  • Create user-friendly way to share anonymously ideas and suggestions related to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.


Amplify Underrepresented Voices in our Programs, Diversify our Collections, and Reach New Audiences

Through December 2020

  • Commit to a minimum of three exhibitions per year in the Morgan’s four main exhibition galleries that amplify underrepresented voices, including women as well as artists, writers, and scholars of color.
  • Reevaluate our acquisition strategy and priorities.
  • Develop methods and standards to make the Morgan’s interpretive and presentation strategies more inclusive for all exhibitions.
  • Pursue partnerships to support the diversification of our exhibitions and programs.
  • Develop internal guidelines for critical and ethical cataloging and for inclusive language in exhibitions and publications by the end of the year.
  • On a weekly basis, integrate underrepresented voices (including women as well as artists, writers, and scholars of color) into our digital outreach, email marketing, and social media-based programming.

Through March 2021

  • Prioritize photography and digital dissemination of collection items made by BIPOC artists, writers, and musicians.
  • Outline plans for a teen program and develop a schedule and cost estimate to support fundraising and future implementation.
  • Review the Morgan’s admissions policies, hours, free Friday evening format, and language offerings in order to build strategies to engage a more diverse audience.

Staff and Board Diversity

Through December 2020

  • Launch the Belle da Costa Greene Fellowships, two new two-year curatorial fellowships to be awarded to promising scholars from communities historically underrepresented in the curatorial and special collections fields.
  • Identify Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) candidates for all open positions.
  • Include DEAI updates in Board communications and materials.

Through March 2021

  • Track and report on staff demographics on a quarterly basis.
  • Develop a resource plan to improve our hiring processes and to train hiring managers to support the development and retention of a diverse staff.
  • Assist the Board in identifying candidates and in the recruitment of new Board members with the goal of increasing diversity with regard to race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and age, and with consideration of different backgrounds and professions.


Improve Equity

Through December 2020

  • Issue supplemental pay to hourly employees in Facilities onsite regularly during the COVID-19 stay-at-home period and Phase 1 of NYC’s reopening.
  • Develop compensation and work plan for onsite workers in the event of a second city-wide outbreak and “stay at home” order.
  • Solicit feedback from frontline staff about physical work environments and address any short-term issues; track other desired improvements for integration into over-arching capital plan.
  • In advance of the November elections, provide information to staff regarding the availability of leave time to facilitate voting.
  • Provide wage transparency in all job postings, including recruitment of interns, research assistants, and other temporary positions except in very limited circumstances.

Through March 2021

  • Implement a floating holiday policy allowing staff members of different faiths to honor religious practices and traditions.
  • Prepare for a compensation benchmarking study.
  • Transition to a fully paid internship program by April 1, 2021.

See also the Morgan's statement on critical cataloging.