“The time is always right to do what is right.” —Dr. Martin Luther King
Cecile Shellman is a full-time consultant providing diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and anti-racism services for museums. Her experience includes having worked in a leadership capacity for Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, heading initiatives at Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Selected past appointments include: Director of Visual Arts and Exhibitions at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Program Manager for Pittsburgh Public Schools' Culturally Responsive Arts Education Initiative, Education Coordinator at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston; Director of Education at Heckscher Museum of Art, New York; and Education Curator at the Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a CMS from Harvard University and a BFA in Painting from Brigham Young University.
She was named an American Alliance of Museums Facing Change Senior Diversity Fellow in 2019, and she is licensed as a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), the premier research-based cultural competence assessment.
Diversity exists. Inclusion takes effort. In between are the concepts of equity and access. Every person generally deserves attention, dignity, respect, and belonging. Our biases and prejudices often prevent us from valuing others as we should. Museums are among the fields that need improvement in this regard. In fact, racism and other aspects of systemic oppression are evident in museum culture. Identifying and eliminating bias, acknowledging worst practices, committing to best practice, and embarking on transformation are critical to survival and sustainability. I can help you channel your efforts to diversify, provide equal access to, and include, valued voices and visual content to your museum.
I guarantee that my work with you will model the practice of dialogue and resonance: I will listen to you and together we will create unique workable solutions for your staff, visitors, exhibitions, and programming. No two museums or DEAI challenges are alike!
At the Utah Museums Association 2018 conference, an administrator remarked:
"Cecile prepared a presentation before arriving at the conference, but after she mingled with our museum community and listened to some of their struggles and questions, she went back to the drawing board and developed a new presentation to respond to the specific needs of our members. This demonstration of empathy resulted in a presentation about difficult issues that was well received, impactful for those in attendance, and was the catalyst for important discussions."