Message from the Director

Two women, one sitting and one standing look at a book.  a third figure stands to the right.In the image on this page photographer Eve Arnold captures a poignant moment from the 1960's in which Priscilla Washington, a twenty-one-year-old student, is trained to participate in a sit-in. These nonviolent acts of civil disobedience changed the course of American life, but the work continues. Earlier this week the Morgan expressed solidarity via social media with our community, artists, writers, scholars, musicians, and colleagues who experience oppression and racism. We postponed all our live online events and programs for the week to reflect and recalibrate. We believe that Black voices matter. We believe Black lives matter.

On Monday evening, midtown was the site for peaceable protests that were, unfortunately, followed by looting and violence. The Morgan suffered no damage, and I would like to express my gratitude to the museum's essential workers, whose hard work continues to keep our campus and collections safe.

Over the past few years, the Morgan has made concerted efforts to address issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Although there is much more to do, I am proud of the progress we have made to date, including a career pipeline aimed at bringing students and early career professionals into the museum field. Our inaugural Belle da Costa Green Fellowship Program will award two-year positions to promising scholars from communities historically underrepresented in the curatorial and special collections fields.

We have also endeavored to bring more diverse voices into our exhibitions and programs and look forward to inviting you to experience Betye Saar: Call and Response in fall 2020 and other exhibitions to be announced soon. These efforts extend to our acquisition activities as well.

I encourage you all to find inspiration in the many examples of human creativity in our collections, as we work to shape the world we want to see. An awareness of historical context is the ultimate lens through which we can most fully understand the present and make progress. We will continue to share stories with you digitally and remain committed to providing a meaningful place for respectful discourse and thought-provoking dialogue. Thank you all for your commitment to the Morgan and its mission.

I wish you all continued health and safety.

Colin B. Bailey


Eve Arnold (1912–2012), A training school for Black sit- ins. They are harassed but taught not to hit back when harassed by Whites, Virginia, USA, 1960, from the series Non-Violence, gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased on the Photography Collectors Committee Fund, 2017.286. © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos