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PRESS RELEASE - MMF Data Study Launches October 24, 2022

Museums Moving Forward (MMF) to Conduct Data Study on Workplace Equity in U.S. Art Museums

Launching October 24, 2022

October 5, 2022 - Museums Moving Forward (MMF), a research organization made up of museum staff members, is launching a data study on workplace equity and organizational culture in art museums across the U.S. with the support of Mellon and Ford Foundations. The goal of this study is to create a field-wide view of patterns and trends happening inside art museum workplaces and to identify key opportunities for actionable change. The data collection period runs from October 24-December 1, 2022 and the final report will be available in Spring 2023. At this time, 51 museums are participating and a full list can be found here. Additional institutions continue to join the study and will be added until the deadline of October 17, 2022.   

“MMF’s research to date shows there is a dearth of data about workplace equity within art museums despite urgent calls for better practices over the past several years,” says Mia Locks, one of MMF’s co-founders and former senior curator at MOCA, Los Angeles. 

“The art museum field desperately needs time and attention devoted to assessing and measuring the problems, and to developing organizational structures and policies that prioritize equity across all staff and departments,” says Makeda Best, another MMF co-founder and curator of photography at Harvard Art Museums. 

With initial grants from Mellon and Ford Foundations, MMF was created in 2020 by a group of art museum workers committed to enhancing gender and racial equity in their workplaces and to a data-driven approach to the betterment of the field. Designed in partnership with Slover Linett Audience Research and Boston University, MMF’s data study uses a technique very similar to encryption called multi-party computation or MPC. MPC protects user privacy while creating aggregate analyses for participating museums and the field. Participant privacy is paramount not only to ensure accurate data but also to protect individual employees. The resulting data will not bare out any identifiable individual or institutional identification.  

“This data will help us understand, and really see in hard numbers, the deficiencies in equity museum workers have been working within and give a clearer picture as to how we can begin to address their recent calls to action,” remarks Connie Butler, another co-founder and chief curator at the Hammer Museum. 


Museums Moving Forward (MMF) is a data-driven initiative to support greater equity and accountability in museum workplaces through research, advocacy, and coalition-building.

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