Updated: Nov 26, 2020
As we’ve seen with #museumsrespondtoFerguson, social media has immense power to further activists’ goals and objectives. Earlier this year, Instagram seemed to explode with grounds-up, grassroots leadership, becoming the activist’s platform, where friends and followers share infographics, lists of reading materials, and links to petitions. Since October has been deemed “No Museum October”, a reaction to, and thus call-to-action for museums, proves that the power of social media continues to grow.
There have been accounts created specifically for the purpose of educating and pointing out the discrimination of both visitors and staff in some of the biggest institutions in the United States. As we’ve said in an earlier post, the Black Lives Matter movement has caused museums to deeply examine the racism that rests at the foundation of their institutional methodologies. The silence and unwavering nature within those museum methodologies and work environments prove that our cultural institutions generally have a history of ignoring things. And if they are working on changing, these changes are often surface level. The work that these Instagram accounts are doing serves equally as proof of the long road ahead of museums in becoming more inclusive and more truly aligned with being a community-oriented space. So, follow them to stay in the conversation:
1. @changethemuseum : ChangeTheMuseum serves as a third party that shares anonymous first-hand accounts from museum workers that have—and are still having—extremely racist and sexist work experiences. ChangeTheMuseum has also been featured and discussed on major platforms such as Hyperallergic, the New York Times, and Teen Vogue. They have over 500 posts, most tagging location or naming the institution for accountability: when you search for the museum on Instagram, their posts that serve to expose, will be included in that search.
2. @_fortheculture2020 : For the Culture is an account run by “a coalition of current/former Black and Brown employees and allies [who are] united together to call out systemic racism in Museums and other cultural institutions.” Their focus on art museums isn’t only tackling major problems such as lack of representation of BIPOC artists in collections, on staff and boards, but they’re also sharing statistics, museums’ plans making headlines, and first-hand accounts of racism.
3. @deathtomuseums : Death to Museums is an up-and-coming organization that focuses on the future of museums, from how to move forward from COVID-19 to racist practices plaguing operations. They’ve hosted monthly “unconferences” focusing on rewriting the methodology script. We’ve just learned about them and are already obsessed; we hope that you will be, too!
4. @theincluseum : The Incluseum is made up of museum professionals who want to emphasize “dialogue, community building and collaborative practice” surrounding inclusion and justice in museums. Their account serves as socially engaging space for their blog; their content is phenomenal and thought-provoking, which makes them a must-have on this list.
5. @ablackhistoryofart : This account focuses on highlighting many of the Black voices and images that have been left out of the larger narrative of art history, and thus museums. As museum professionals are finding ways to do better and engage with their publics once they can reopen, collecting more Black artists is part of the solution. Scroll through the images and check out the Google document in the bio for specifics. How does your collection measure up?
Other great accounts: @museum.of.fine.memes , @decolonizetheartworld , @museum_detox , @artandmuseumtransparency , @museums_race , @museumworkersspeak , @culturestrike
There are many other accounts on Instagram that we don’t know about, yet, so this is in no way a complete list. If you have others you would like to add, add them in the comment section.
Pro tip: check to see who they are following for more great content! We highly recommend you do. Visit our Instagram page for more accounts in the comment section.
Sarah Hixson (she/her/hers) is an aspiring curator and educator focusing on DEAI and indigenization work and incorporating activism into museum practices. If you have questions for Sarah, please comment below or send an email to email@example.com.
 Gretchen Jennings, “The #museumsrespondstoFerguson Initiative, A Necessary Conversation,” Museums & Social Issues, Vol. 10 No.2, October 2015, pp. 97-105.  _fortheculture2020’s Instagram biography.
Cover Image from We Are Teachers, https://www.weareteachers.com/instagram-language-arts/