On Friday, June 3, we shared a Facebook post promoting our annual Juneteenth Jamboree event, a celebration we have held at the museum since 1998. As a comment on that post, a visitor shared an image of an item being sold in our Food Court with an offensive label associated with the event. We immediately and permanently removed the food item that had been put out by our contracted food service provider. We want to say how deeply sorry we are for the hurt this situation has caused.
As a museum, we are very intentional about the content we develop for our exhibits and experiences and the review process they undergo. Exhibit and experience content is carefully created through the view of the individuals featured and vetted by a broad range of external subject matter experts and those who have a special interest in the exhibit or event. This situation has shown us that we need to expand this process beyond our exhibits and experiences and that we must be inclusive in this work.
We spent the past week investigating what happened and where we fell short as a museum. Since 2020 we have relied on a vendor to create thematic menu items that extend the museum experience into our Food Court. Unfortunately, the inappropriate name and label given to the menu item was not reviewed by museum staff. Through this, we learned a really hard lesson that oversight must play an important role in every museum relationship.
Vendors are an integral part of our organization and an extension of the museum. As a result of this situation, we have learned that we need to employ a more robust review process with our vendors. Our plan is to evaluate our processes and develop a strategy to prevent this from happening again. Once we have this revised process in place it will be shared on The Children’s Museum website and expectations will be communicated to current and potential vendors.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is committed to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI), which is demonstrated in part through the work of our DEAI task force under the guidance of a DEAI consultant. This intensive work has been going on since 2020 and includes purposefully crafting an inclusive culture, upholding our values, creating exhibits and experiences that reflect our visitors, engaging our local communities, and being thoughtful about the partners we select.
We are an imperfect institution, but we are committed to improvement and will work tirelessly to regain your trust. The entire museum family, from our staff and volunteers to our board of trustees, is fully dedicated to making this right.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis