Essential Community Conversations

“History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society—but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice.” – Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III

At this watershed moment in American history, museums are finding a wide spectrum of ways to address injustice with their communities, and facilitate the difficult but essential dialogue that is necessary. Below are some resources that the Smithsonian has developed to catalyze these conversations. As always, the Institution is committed to collaborations and conversations that, in the words of Secretary Bunch, “challenge the nation to live up to its founding ideals.”

What has worked with your community or within your organization? We invite Affiliates to share your resources, and use our network to learn with and from each other, and with us. Submit your Affiliate resources on this form.

Smithsonian Resources

Standing Together Against Hate, educational resources and direct learning opportunities from across the Smithsonian Institution.

158 Resources to Understand Racism in America from Smithsonian magazine

Americans: A Dialogue Toolkit for Educators developed by the National Museum of the American Indian

Project Pride, a pan-Institutional collection of Smithsonian resources

Standing Together Against Xenophobia developed by the Asian Pacific American Center

Talking about race, developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Viral Histories, a program by the National Museum of American History

Flowers lay at a memorial on a street.

In response to the eight people—seven of them women, six of Asian descent—killed in Georgia, we offer educational resources to increase understanding and deconstruct systemic oppression. Our statement and materials from across the Smithsonian can be found here:

Racism, Unrest, and the Role of the Museum Field

On June 3, attendees of the AAM Virtual Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo came together to hear from Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, and Lori Fogarty on the museum field’s role in combating racism. In the heat of the country’s reckoning with police killings of Black people, the conversation was an opportunity to come together as a community and listen to these powerful voices discuss how we can rebuild our field and our society for the better. Watch the full video below or read a transcript here.