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Inclusion, Diversity, Equity: Museums Go All-In

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Many changes at the National Gallery. It’s a boy’s club no more. Pictured: George Caleb Bingham, The Jolly Flatboatmen, 1846. Oil on canvas. (National Gallery of Art, Washington Patrons’ Permanent Fund. 2015.181.1) But, practically speaking, what do these trendy words really mean?

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T wo weeks ago I introduced a new museum concept called IDEA, an acronym for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. It’s the remedy for staff disgruntlement about pay, promotions, mentoring, insensitivity, and racial balance. It’s part of the multibillion-dollar grievance-and-grudge industry, an industry that produces nothing but big money for its promoters.

Some of the IDEA movement’s measures are good, some are bad. On some fronts, it’s lots of noise from blowhard, pandering directors and trustees. On others, reforms are overdue. There was a nationwide museum-staff revolt last year, something I’ve never seen, and museum leaders are addressing the angst.

In my story

(Leonid Eremeychuk/Getty Images) …

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