Monday, November 23, 2009

Towards a New Mainstream?

When we talk about the CFM forecasting report Museums & Society 2034, this figure always makes museum folk sit up and take notice.

Changing composition of America (U.S. Census Bureau/Reach Advisors)

It dramatizes the growing disconnect between the population of the U.S., which is becoming increasingly diverse culturally and ethnically, and the core audience of museums, which continues to be mostly Caucasian. In only a few decades, our society will be “majority minority.” California, Texas, Hawaii ,New Mexico and the District of Columbia have already achieved this status. What does this presage for museums? Can we continue to go about our business, hoping that new audiences will come to know and love us? Do we need to change the way we think, talk, hire and plan in order to establish our relevant to diverse audiences? Or are we evolving towards a post-racial America in which the major challenge will be reaching the tech-savvy, highly engaged “myCulture” generation, whatever their ethnic and cultural heritage?

On Wednesday, December 9th LA Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez (author of Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America) will help us explore these and other questions in the 2009 CFM lecture. The lecture will take place at 6:30 pm, at the Embassy of Canada in downtown DC. Attendance is limited, but we would love for you to join us—please RSVP to to reserve your seat.

If you can’t attend the live lecture, fear not! We will webcast it on Wednesday, January 27th at 2 pm EST. The webcast will be accompanied by moderated chat rooms, and Mr. Rodriguez will join us online for Q&A. Watch the CFM website for registration information and a discussion guide to the lecture.