Cultural Awareness & IDEA
Presidio Museum’s Policy Statement on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA)
In 2018, the American Alliance of Museums released a report to address the ongoing work being done by museums across the country to encourage the continued pursuit of inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and equitability in the daily operations, public programming and services. (To see the full “Facing Change” report, you can google “American Alliance of Museum Facing Change”.)
The Board and Executive Director of the Presidio Museum took time to review this report and developed the policy statements below. Click here to see partners we work with to pursue IDEA.
Two approaches were considered equally.
The first was to review best practices for internal operations, hiring and staff.
The second was to address the challenge of sharing, interpreting and delivering history through the lens of a more equitable modern world. This second approach proved to be more complex and challenging.
The Presidio Museum is not a theme park but an accurate re-creation of an actual structure and the people who lived there. Our priority is to teach true history without softening or rewriting historical fact which was sometimes violent, has often been told through the eyes of the conquering culture, or has been rewritten to satisfy modern values.
The overall outcome of this exercise was to recommit ourselves to teaching historical fact while welcoming different cultural perspectives and recognizing biases of the past. The exploration of history, human confrontation and human achievement can only be approached today with eyes wide open to past biases and awareness of our more modern societal goals of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.
Diversity in historical interpretation: The story of the history of the Pimería Alta includes the first contact of many cultures including the ancestors of the Tohono O’odham and the Apache, as well as the arrival of the Yaqui, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, African and European people. The stories of some of these people were more dominant in this area than others but no individual story is less meaningful than another. The Presidio Museum strives to share the stories of all cultures equally and accurately.
Equity and inclusion in historical interpretation: The story of the history of the Pimería Alta is like that of all American history: certain groups of people subjugated and mistreated others. Activities that once seemed acceptable are now understood in our modern perspective to be unfair, oppressive, violent and often dehumanizing. The Presidio Museum strives to tell stories of the past from multiple perspectives – not just that of the stronger group. It strives to make all individuals and groups feel a part of our activities and historical narratives. Diverse points-of-view are valid and encouraged.
Accessibility in historical interpretation: The Presidio Museum’s complex is comprised of a re-creation of a historic structure (the Presidio) as well as historic buildings (the Jacome-Siqueíros house, duplex and administration space). Due to the nature of historic buildings, accessibility for physical impairment can be a challenge. However, the Museum is fully ADA compliant and strives to provide as much accessibility as possible within the limitations of its historic structures.
Accessible entry is available from Court Avenue, an additional handicap ramp is available on the north side of the block. A doorbell is available at the Court Avenue entrance and interior ramps have been incorporated into the building layouts. Presidio grounds are dirt and can be pebbly. We ask visitors with any physical challenge to walk the grounds with extra care.
Diversity, equity and inclusion in daily operations:
Staff and volunteers at the Presidio Museum are expected to conduct themselves in an orderly and professional manner at all times. Standards of conduct include treating each other and the public in the following way:
- no harassment of any sort – verbal, physical, or sexual
- no illegal activity or possession of illegal substances
- no impairment by alcohol or illicit drugs
- no violation of safety rules and no careless or negligent action that endangers life or well-being of another person
- no acts or threats of violence or destruction, indecency, obscenity, abusive or insulting language.
Diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in hiring practices and volunteer opportunities: It provides equal employment opportunities to all employees, volunteers and applicants without regard to ancestry, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic circumstances, marital status, veteran status or genetics. This policy applies to all conditions of employment and volunteering.