Small Museums and Social Justice: Let's Start the Conversation
SMA Statement on AAPI Solidarity
The Small Museum Association (SMA) denounces the violence against the Asian community. On March 16, 2021, seven women and one man were murdered in Atlanta—nine more to a list of thousands of victims across the nation that have been victims of racially driven violence across the nation. As we only began to mourn the loss of Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue, ten more lives were taken in Boulder, Colorado. As we offer our support to the victims’ families and friends, we recognize the need for systemic change in the United States.
We must condemn xenophobia, misogyny, and racist and gendered violence. In order to untangle the complicated web systemic issues in the nation, it is critical that museums are part of the conversations in their communities. There are many difficult conversations to have, but as representatives of our communities, we are in a position of creating change out of the turmoil. Our museums should be looking inward at their own practices, biases, and needed changes in order to create a safe space for visitors to engage in the dynamic, diverse histories we share. Only then are we able to serve as the bridge between communities to begin cross-racial healing. Through this, we can begin to create community understanding, foster respect for each other, and be inclusive spaces.
SMA Statement on Black Lives Matter
In recent months, protests have spread across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd. Communities have come together to protest the systemic racism that oppresses the African American community and allows injustices to continue again and again. These protests have frequently clashed with disproportionate responses from police. Such clashes have led to wide-scale rioting in some locations. However, the destruction of property is insignificant in comparison to the destruction of human life.
As small museums that serve our communities, we must constantly examine and consider the causes that have led to our current state of affairs. Talking about racism is uncomfortable, but we have an obligation to do so. Small museums are in a special position to pose questions, educate their communities, and effect social change. There is pain and hurt in our communities, but through our combined voices, the country as a whole can begin a necessary dialogue.
SMA's Commitment to Social Justice
The Small Museum Association has formed a social justice committee to provide ideas and resources which will help members and followers be a part of the solution to racial and social injustice in our communities. What are some issues your museum needs help addressing? How can we be more inclusive in the telling of our stories and in telling the whole story? And what are some best practices you can share with our museum community?
We recognize that this is ongoing work, and will continue to update this page with additional resources based, in part, on suggestions from our membership. If you have questions or suggestions about these resources, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org