Hot July brings cooling showers / Apricots and gillyflowers. ~ Sara Coleridge


July 17, 2018

Belmont Mansion, Nashville




Exploring Diversity and Inclusion at TAM 2018

Part 3: Collections and Curators Roundtable

This year's TAM conference, with its theme of Strength in Unity, saw several sessions focused on questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the facilitator-led roundtables where participants had the chance to discuss these issues together in an informal setting. We are sharing some of the insights and questions that came out of those discussions through the newsletter: this month is focused on the Collections and Curators Roundtable.

The Collections and Curators Roundtable focused on developing inclusivity and diversity in collections and curatorial practices. A lively discussion brought forth a variety of ideas of how to achieve this within our institutions. As with the two previous roundtable summaries, one of the big points was working with your community to find ways to represent those that are underserved. For instance, we can identify groups who may not be represented within our collections and use crowdsourcing as a tool for collecting material culture and research. Creating specific projects that highlight and reflect populations not currently represented, and talking to them about what they want to see within our exhibits and programs, will help us to share their stories and related material culture in a more inclusive way – this recognition of their experience will also help these communities to connect more to our institutions.

It is also important within our collections and curatorial roles to strive to listen to and understand the voices of the people we are representing and working to include. Indeed, we need to recognize that there are certain things that the group of origin needs to say, things that the experts shouldn’t say – experts aren’t always the experts! This also gives us a chance to identify the stories that will resonate with different groups or to find out what they feel is missing from the larger story. Speaking to the community directly means that we can establish a clearer path to eliminating bias.

We can also create processes within our behind-the-scenes work that help us to recognize and address issues of inclusion and diversity. For example, asking questions such as Who is included in these conversations? and Is the story balanced? will help us to more clearly analyze how we – as curators or exhibit developers – approach our subjects. When designing our exhibits and programs, it is also imperative that we consider possible accessibility needs for visitors and to address these needs as much as we possibly can.

Inclusion and diversity are also important factors in relation to our staff – these are not just about our visitors. Roundtable participants highlighted a variety of issues to consider, including looking at how accessible collections or work spaces are for staff who have mobility or other limitations and the ways this might impact hiring; reviewing our hiring practices so that we are searching for new hires more widely with less internal hiring; and looking for ways to provide paid internships in order to open up these opportunities to a larger group of people.

As with previous roundtables, the Collections and Curators discussion really underlined the importance of always working to get feedback from the people who are impacted by the accessibility or content being developed. Remember: these sources will provide valuable insight! 

Next month we'll share the discussion from the Docent and Tour Guides Roundtable. You can also access the notes from all four roundtable sessions here.

2020 AASLH Suffrage Value Statement

Call for Public Comment

The AASLH Women’s History Affinity Group is developing a 2020 Suffrage Value Statement, with best practices and principles for the upcoming Centennial Commemoration of the 19th Amendment. The group is surveying the field for comments to help develop the statement.  Deadline to submit comments: August 15, 2018. You can participate through this link:

Session Proposals #TAM2019!

It is time to start thinking about what session you want to offer for the TAM 2019 conference. This year’s theme is Connect, Cultivate, Sustain. The Call for Proposals will be released in August. So be sure to watch your email, the TAM website, or the TAM Facebook page for more information and start thinking of great sessions to share next year!


Featuring Tennessee Institutions and All the Great Stuff They Do!  

With limited space in the TAM newsletter, it's hard to feature all of the great events, exhibits, programs, and achievements of our Tennessee museums, cultural institutions, and historic sites. Therefore, as often as possible, we will use some space to feature the websites and blogs of Tennessee institutions. This will help point our members to these sites so that they can follow all of the wonderful work these places are doing and go deeper into their content.

This month check out the virtual estate tour for Belmont Mansion and the historic site's blog. The interactive image- and map-based tour gives online visitors the chance to learn more about the things they can see at the site, while the blog digs deeper into their content and stories.  
If your museum or site runs a blog or interesting website that you'd like to see featured in the TAM newsletter, please send details to Communications Chair Rene Rodgers at



 AAM Webinars
Recorded webinars:
Did you know that you can access recorded webinars from AAM? With over 70 programs to choose from, their recorded webinars cover a range of topics and offer an affordable, accessible and convenient online learning opportunity for you and your staff. Purchase of each recorded webinar includes access to the archived recording and presentation materials. Programs originally produced after 2009 feature closed-captioning.

AASLH Webinars

July 24, 2018: Home for the Holidays: Interpreting Christmas at Your Historic Site

August 14, 2018: Introduction to Podcasting for Museums and Historic Sites


AAM EdComversations and Other Opportunities

EdComversations: From 4:00 to 5:00pm (EDT) every third Thursday of the month, join other museum professionals for conversation. These online, talk-show-style discussions cover timely, relevant topics from the museum community and encourage dialogue, networking, and collaborative idea generation. These conversations are free but participants are asked to register; the next EdComversation is Thursday, July 19 at 4:00pm. For more information and to register, check out this link.

July 26, 2018: "A Call to Action: We Are Still In" is a 30-minute session focused on reviewing the purpose of the We Are Still In coalition and how cultural institutions and museum associations can play an active role in climate action. To learn more, go to this link.

- More Information -

Continuing Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion

It's not just TAM that is addressing and discussing diversity and inclusion. AAM shared Facing Change: A New Report from the American Alliance of Museums' Working Group on DEAI in May (DEAI stands for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion). It can be accessed here

Amazon Smile and TAM

Did you know that you can support TAM through any shopping you do on Amazon Smile? Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% to the Tennessee Associations of Museums whenever you shop on the site for anything from books to clothes to house goods!

Use this link to set up TAM as your charitable beneficiary on Amazon Smile today!

Current TAM Board Members, including contact details for regional reps:

Ken Mayes, President
Dollie Boyd, President Elect
Brad Kavan, Treasurer
Brooke Mundy, Secretary
Debbie Shaw, State Coordinator
Rene Rodgers, Communications Chair
Bethany Hawkins, Conference Chair
Tori Mason, Awards Chair
Hobart Akin, Professional Program Chair
Melina Ludwig, Technology Chair

Charles Googe, Vice President East TN

Rebecca Price, Vice President Middle TN
Chick History

Vice President – West TN (to be filled)
Have news to share??
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