A private university in Massachusetts is now offering a graduate program that will teach students how to fight “rampant” white supremacy in museums.
Tufts University will now be offering an “Antiracist Curatorial Practice” post-graduate certificate in which students will learn how to dismantle “white supremacist” curation processes in museums. The program was founded by Kelli Morgan, the director of curatorial studies and a professor of the practice in curatorial studies and history of art and architecture at Tufts.
“Morgan developed the program, which currently offers five online courses designed to be completed in one to two years, to counter the systemic racism often found in museum curation,” reported the school’s paper, The Tufts Daily.
According to Morgan, she was inspired to start the program after experiencing “years of discrimination” as an art museum curator. “It was coming to … the affirmation that class discrimination, gender discrimination and racial discrimination are really rampant in our museum culture, specifically in traditional art institutions,” Morgan told The Tufts Daily.
“I resigned because in experiencing the type of racial discrimination in that position that I had experienced in my previous two positions, I was like, ‘It’s not unique to the institutions,’ as I initially thought … this is unique to the field.”
Morgan claims that her experiences have led her to believe that most museum curators are incapable of curating “antiracist” exhibits and institutions. “As I looked at other curatorial studies, museum studies, even art history curriculums, … I [realized that] there literally isn’t anything out there that offers this kind of education … that really gets at strategies to address this stuff,” Morgan said.
Morgan hopes to expand the program to additional universities and museums. The “antiracism” expert argues that if museums were to implement this policy, they could save on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) fees. A growing number of universities, workplaces and government institutions are mandated to pay DEI consultants to lecture employees on white supremacy.
“We could market to directors and trustees [and] walk them through the curriculum in a succinct, … digestible way,” Morgan said. “My tagline for this is if museums actually invest in sending their staff … to this program, then [they] can save the [$25,000]–$30,000 that [they] spend on the … DEI firm that comes in and only gives you surface level DEI training.”