MHM Wins National Award for Diversity and Accessibility

8, May 2017


Today we at the Missouri History Museum were honored to take the stage with our colleagues at The Field Museum in Chicago to accept the American Alliance of Museums’s (AAM) inaugural Award for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. Although we certainly don’t do our work with awards in mind, this one is pretty special.

For many years now, we’ve made the question “How can we reach as many people in our community as possible, as effectively as possible?” a central tenet of our exhibits and programs. In fact, one of our core goals is to honor inclusivity and collaboration. We work to do this in three distinct ways:

  • by creating a welcoming environment for all visitors
  • by making sure our work environment is congenial, accessible, and inclusive
  • by encouraging meaningful dialogue about challenging topics from diverse perspectives, within the bounds of civility and respect
2014 Town Hall meeting at the Missouri History Museum following the fatal shooting of Michael BrownThe town hall meeting held at MHM following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. Image courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Those may sound like buzzwords and grand goals, but this award shows that, with your input and support, we’ve been able to translate those words into substantive action. Specifically called out by AAM were our 2014 town hall meeting in response to public unrest following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown; programs addressing the LGBTQ community; and impressive strides in making our exhibits as accessible as possible to every St. Louisan, regardless of ability.

It’s also important to put this award in the perspective of the past three years here at MHM. Since 2014 we’ve opened four of the five most visited exhibits in our 150-year history. Yes, you read that right. Here it is again: Four of the five most visited exhibits in our 150-year history have opened in just the past three years, and each one featured new, innovative approaches and partnerships to ensure it would be accessible to our community. From covering issues of segregation and discrimination to having American Sign Language translations of audio clips available with the quick scan of a smartphone, exhibits here at MHM look and feel more different than ever before—and your attendance tells us we’re doing something right.

So, thank you. Of course, thank you to the American Alliance of Museums for the recognition, but thanks especially to you—our community. You make all of this possible, and we’re committed to expanding our efforts to be as accessible, diverse, equitable, and inclusive as possible for you in the years to come. After all, it’s the right thing to do.

—Sam Moore, Online Communications Coordinator

Membership appeal