Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum takes action on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion

Committed to making meaningful systemic change, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Board of Governors approved today the formation of a Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Committee. The DEAI Committee will provide the internal guidance necessary to guarantee that these principles are fostered, practiced and integrated consistently throughout CBMM’s operations.

“CBMM has made some initial progress with DEAI, but we understand there is still more work yet to be done,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “It is crucial that we make a meaningful and significant investment of resources to ensure a more diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive CBMM.”

Prior to the formation of a DEAI Committee, CBMM has been proactive in cultivating an accessible and inclusive culture. Last year, the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center provided cultural competency training to all CBMM staff. CBMM has sought to address inequities through Rising Tide, a free after-school program for local youth, as well as a bus scholarship program to benefit PK-12 student field trips. CBMM has also featured stories of African American contributions to maritime history on the Eastern Shore in exhibitions and programming, but Greenaway believes more can be done in bringing those stories to life.

“To gain support as an inclusive organization, we need to first self-examine where we are and incorporate a broad perspective to truly make lasting cultural change,” said Greenaway. “In the short-term, we can tell the story of the Chesapeake’s complicated past and legacies of inequity more openly, collectively and consistently. Long-term, documenting and sharing the stories of all groups of people in the Chesapeake will make CBMM an effective steward of the region’s culture and history. Community partnerships that invite the public into the process of exploring the cultures of the Chesapeake will make CBMM a site for civic dialogue and promote citizen understanding of the region’s complicated past and the legacies of inequity.”

From hiring practices to programming and interpretation, CBMM sees DEAI as a critical priority. The committee—comprised of CBMM Board members, staff, volunteers, and supporters—will work to develop a comprehensive plan with measurable goals by the end of CBMM’s fiscal year in February. The committee will also provide guidance for integrating DEAI objectives into CBMM’s mission, values, and vision.

“We understand the importance of DEAI at the individual and departmental level, but we look forward to putting comprehensive structures and policies in place to strengthen our position for the long-term,” said Greenaway. “It will be imperative that we help facilitate regular board and staff discussion of community inequities that hinder broad public access to the programs and resources of CBMM.”

The charter of the DEAI Committee follows guidance from the American Alliance of Museums and resources from the group Museum as Site for Social Action (MASS Action) to align CBMM with the best practices of comparable museums and cultural institutions. In addition to developing a DEAI plan to make CBMM a more inclusive institution, the committee is tasked with measuring and tracking progress by department to ensure expected and desirable outcomes. A diverse board and staff enable CBMM to develop relevant and authentic programs that engage a broad public. CBMM’s Board of Governors and Friends Board will also work with the committee to prioritize board diversity and ensure that the selection of its members is a fair and inclusive process.

Website: cbmm.org

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