My museum of choice for this post is the Heard Museum, located in Phoenix Arizona.
(photo from the Heard Museum’s Exhibit: “Home: Native People in the Southwest”)
This museum is on my list of museums I want to visit and hopefully will in the coming the years. I have viewed their website before but for the sake of this assignment I went straight to the “About Us” tab to see if I could find answers to the questions posted in the module. The museum it’s self is a large nonprofit Art museum of Indigenous cultures of the Southwest where they blend their cultural and natural history collections together for the sake of exemplifying Art as a vehicle to understanding History and Culture.
At first glance they don’t seem to have an exact quote un quote “Governance Structure” posted or listed, I originally thought the tabs labeled, “Museum Council” or “Heard Museum Guild” would be where to go, but unfortunately not. Both are organizations under the museum that are for volunteers and members, not exactly what I was seeking. The next tab I went to was for their “Board of Trustees” whose sub headline on the tab was, “View members of the senior leadership who oversee the mission and future of the Heard Museum.” Simply was just a list of their board members….
The Heard Museum’s mission statement is: “The mission of the Heard Museum is to be the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation, interpretation and advancement of American Indian art, emphasizing its intersection with broader artistic and cultural themes.”
Their vision is to set the standard for collaborating with American Indian artists and tribal communities to provide visitors with a distinctive perspective about the art of Native people, especially those from the Southwest.
The Heard Museum works closely with it’s Indigenous community as it’s artwork and items come directly from them. They actually have their own American Indian Advisory Council (AIAC) with more than half of their members / trustees being from several Indigenous Tribes found in the Southwest. The same page where you can find this information with the trustees names listed along side their tribal affiliations is a statement that reads, “The American Indian Advisory Committee will provide advice and guidance to the museum on policy and procedural issues associated with American Indian matters. The Committee is responsible for annually nominating the recipient of the Spirit of the Heard Museum Award – for approval by the Board of Trustees. Committee members help to foster mutual respect, understanding and involvement of Indian communities in the museum.” The heard museum doesn’t have a direct, “here are our Ethics tab.” but sprinkled without their telling of the museum’s history and other locations on the website their Ethics fall in line with their Mission Statement as well as their vision. When searching their website explicitly for the word, “Ethics” I was simply taken to a list of Arizona Indian Communities they are partnered with and in the description of some of the communities was their own cultural ethics.
Question: While it may seem obvious through other statements and information found on the website do you think they should, as well as all museums should, have a very specific Code of Ethics tab? Again I feel like it is thoroughly incorporated into other aspects of the website (also never being there, it could be posted on site somewhere) but do you think it’d be further beneficial to have a clear “Ethics” section on the website?