As the museum industry continues to examine the role of empathy in our work -- with the public and one another -- we wonder if the research and subsequent lessons will be authentically applied or if the word "empathy" will be discarded on the heap of trendy buzzwords, like so many before it. We hosted a morning roundtable in the Museums and Race Lounge at this year's American Alliance of Museums conference in New Orleans to explore this question and encourage colleagues to think deeply about how they are defining, facilitating, and embodying sustainable empathy within their organizations. We look forward to continuing this conversation to see how this idea of empathy as best practice in museums continues to evolve.
Our Empathetic Museum colleague and contributor, Gretchen Jennings, shares some recent thoughts about why the power and value of empathy continues to remain intangible as an industry best practice.
Read more: https://www.museumcommons.com/2019/01/empathy-intangible-yet-powerful.html
TrendsWatch 2017 highlights empathy as an important element of museum practice. In talk show format, panelists will examine, challenge, and describe efforts to achieve and assess empathy at an organizational level.
By: Stacey Mann, learning experience designer and interpretive strategist, Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning & Engagement, Delaware Art Museum, and Amelia Wiggins, Manager of Gallery Learning & Interpretation, Delaware Art Museum
In Fall 2017 - Spring 2018, the Empathetic Museum ran a series of Workshops for the Delaware Art Museum as they invested in a museum-wide training for their staff and docents ramping up to a series of special exhibitions and programs reflecting on 1968 and the occupation of Wilmington by the National Guard.
These sessions have opened dialogue within the institution and inspired deep reflection by staff on their practices and efforts to be a more inclusive space for the community.
Find the article here on Medium.com.
"To truly become an inclusive, welcoming, and relevant institution to all of Wilmington’s communities, we needed to go beyond tokenistic staff hires and one-off cultural programs. We needed to fundamentally change our internal practice by first acknowledging our limited perspective and our deficits as a predominately White institution (2). By starting with institutional self-examination, we were able to begin the process of changing the way we looked and acted across the institution and provide socially just and equitable service to our entire community."
Photos taken during the Empathetic Museum workshops with members of EM and the Delaware Art Museum staff.
"Given the urgent global discussions happening right now around migrants, refugees, travel bans and human rights, we have decided to make our Front Page Dialogue on the Refugee Crisis open to all. Front Page Dialogues are designed to serve as models to help our members generate conversations about relevant issues as they emerge. As rapid response tools, they are intended to help Sites of Conscience respond to community needs in a timely manner, providing a guide for engaging visitors in dialogue and action on pressing events in real time. We must all act on this issue now. #SitesOfConscience #FrontPageDialogues#TravelBan #ThisIsNotNew"
"Please visit our website, and help us respond."