This blog is the place to exchange ideas, news, issues and thoughts about diversity and multiculturalism in museums. The Multicultural Initiatives Committee is a Texas Association of Museums Affinity Group.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Smithsonian Latino Center: 2010 Latino Museum Studies Program


Organized by the Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC), the Latino Museum Studies Program (LMSP) is dedicated to fostering the professional development of emerging leaders in the fields of Latino history, art, and culture. The four-week program includes panel sessions, lectures, workshops, and behind the scenes access to Smithsonian collections. Additionally, fellows work with Smithsonian staff on designated projects and contribute to current exhibitions, programs, and research initiatives in progress at the Institution.

Each year up to fifteen fellows are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants. Participation is free and includes accommodations for the duration of the program, as well as the cost of round-trip travel to Washington, D.C. Fellows are responsible for all other expenses during the four-weeks, including transportation within the city and meals. A stipend is not provided.

For more information visit:
or please contact Andrew Rebatta at

Deadline is April 30, 2010 (all applications must be completed online by the closing date).

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Scholarship Applications Due January 29

Reminder: The MIC scholarship applications to attend the 2010 Texas Association of Museums Annual Meeting are due January 29th.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Lecture Webcast: Towards a New Mainstream?

Check out this FREE Webinar!

"Towards a New Mainstream?"
Jan. 27 - 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. EST

A scintillating lecture by Gregory Rodriguez exploring demographic change in the Americas, cultural transformation and the future of museums.

In addition to the video presentation of the lecture (recorded before a live audience on Dec. 9th at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.) the webcast will include an overview of the demographic trends sweeping the nation in the coming decades; a live online question and answer session with Gregory; a panel discussion; and moderated chat rooms. It's like attending a whole conference without ever leaving your office!

Registration is open to all individuals. You will be asked to log in to the AAM website, and to create a user name and password if you don't already have one. If you need assistance with registration, contact us at

A discussion guide and resource list for the lecture will be posted to this website soon.

Rodriguez is founder and executive director of Zócalo Public Square (a nonprofit lecture series and Web publication) and Irvine Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. He has written on issues of national identity, social cohesion, assimilation, race relations, religion, immigration, ethnicity and demographics for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, where he is an op-ed columnist. He is the author of Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America, which the Washington Post listed among the

Thursday, 17 December 2009

In brief: Artifacts are sought for Chicano exhibit

El Paso Times Staff

Posted: 12/16/2009 12:00:00 AM MST
Artifacts are sought for Chicano exhibit EL PASO -- Museo Mayachen is looking for fliers, posters, banners, photographs, tickets and other artifacts for a 2010 exhibit of the Chicano Movement in El Paso. The exhibition, scheduled to open Feb. 3, will display personalities, events and issues associated with Chicanos in El Paso. Information: (915)533-9710, (915)532-6205.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Scholarships Available for the TAM Annual Meeting

Multicultural Initiatives Scholarship (MIC):
TAM is offering a limited number of full scholarships for the Annual Meeting to be awarded to minority professionals currently working in Texas museums. Applicants must be early-career and/or new to the Texas museum profession. These scholarships will include meeting registration, one workshop, one luncheon, one breakfast, and an evening event. The scholarship recipient(s) will be responsible for his or her travel, lodging, and incidental costs. Following the meeting the recipient(s) will be asked to write an article for the MIC blog, offering observations on the state of diversity in the museum profession and/or their observations on diversity based on the annual meeting. To apply, send a resume, references, and a one-page letter stating reasons for applying for the scholarship to Deadline for applying is January 29, 2010.

NEW!!!! Multicultural Initiatives Committee GLBT scholarship:
The MIC is offering a $250 scholarship for a GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual) museum professional to attend the 2010 TAM Annual Meeting. Applicants must be early-career and/or have never attended a TAM annual meeting before. Following the meeting, the recipient will be asked to write an article for the MIC blog offering observations about state of GLBT issues within the museum community and/or field. To apply, send a resume, references, and a one page letter stating reasons for applying to Ivette Ray, MIC Chair, to Deadline for applying is January 29, 2010.
**Funds for this scholarship have been generously provided by Wallace Saage.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Diversity Sessions Featured at 2010 TAM Annual Meeting

One of the roles of the MIC is to ensure that adequate attention and time are give to diversity issues at the Texas Association of Museums Annual Meetings. This summer, the MIC submitted four session proposals for the 2010 meeting. I am pleased to announce that two of them have been accepted in their entirety. These are titled "Opening Doors to Inclusiveness" and "Out of the Closet: A Community History Comes to Light." Unfortunately, the other two sessions did not make the cut. Considering that the program committee has the tough task of narrowing the proposals submitted to about half, we are fortunate that half of our submitted sessions were selected.

If you are planning to attend the 2010 TAM Annual Meeting in College Station, be on the lookout for these and other great sessions!

As more details are released about the annual meeting and the sessions, we will update the blog.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Museums take on immigration debate with exhibits

This very intersting article about the role of museums in the immigration debate is from the Chicago Tribune
By SOPHIA TAREEN Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - With little progress on Immigration reform among lawmakers, the nationwide debate has entered a new space: museums. A network of U.S. museums launched a program Wednesday in Chicago that aims to grapple with tough questions on Immigration, including who should have access to health care, how borders should be controlled, and issues of citizenship and identity. The idea is to get leaders and activists talking to each other in locations connected to history to figure out how to achieve reform, said Liz Sevcenko, director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. "Part of the reason that there hasn't been a reform bill is that everybody is afraid of opening the debate," she said. "They're afraid of igniting their constituents, so nothing gets done." But the program, which involves 13 museums, isn't dedicated to crafting specific policies or proposals. Organizers say they'll let the public figure out how they want to talk about issues and museums will tailor events to their local communities in the coming months. The museums chose Immigration as a focus because it intersects with other topics and historically has been an issue the U.S. struggles with, Sevcenko said. For instance, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Mich., which has one of the nation's largest Arab populations, will have classes for college students and an exhibit called "Connecting Communities" in which recent immigrants tell their stories. The Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle has an exhibit called "Deporting Cambodians: How Immigration Policy Shapes Our Communities." The discussions and displays will not be focused solely on Immigration. For instance, in Chicago, a city with a rich labor history, events at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum will involve labor leaders. "It's impossible to talk about Immigration without talking about labor or health care," said Lisa Lee, director of the museum dedicated to the writer, social worker and first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. "Before legislation, citizens have to be informed." Organizers of the program, called "Face to Face: Immigration Then and Now," say it's also important to let the public decide how they want to talk about the issue. On Wednesday in Chicago, about a dozen activists toured the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and then talked about how to make social change, drawing largely on personal experience. Among those invited were hip hop advocates, gay activists and Bill Ayers, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor and 1960s radical whose past association with President Barack Obama created headlines during the campaign. "Immigration is one of these central issues in American life," Ayers told The Associated Press. "I think the way it is being framed is profoundly dishonest." While there is no reform bill currently before legislators, Obama has vowed to take up the issue this year. But many Immigration reform activists have been skeptical because details have been scant and other pressing issue, like health care, have been polarizing. Organizers of the museum program say when it comes to Immigration, they want to circumvent legislators' town hall meetings on health care, which often erupted into shouting matches. "We hope that we'll be able to prevent what happened with health care to happening with Immigration so people can grapple with the tough questions we're facing," Sevcenko said. "Reform will happen because people are able to look at this issue in a much more informed and measured way." Other participating museums include the Field Museum and Cambodian American Heritage Museum, both in Chicago; the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C., the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and Ellis Island in New York; the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles; the New Americans Museum in San Diego; Angel Island in San Francisco; the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell, Mass.; and the University of Texas El Paso's Paso al Norte Immigration History Museum in El Paso, Texas. The museums are part of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network which has more than 200 members worldwide. ------ On the Web: International Coalition of Sites of Conscience: Jane Addams Hull-House Museum: