Racial Justice Statement

Our Commitment to Racial Justice

We the Directors, Trustees, and Staff of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, share with our community collective dismay and heartbreak over the senseless loss of life among Black men, women, and children. We acknowledge and need to understand more fully how racism in our community, state, and country continues to marginalize and endanger Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and limits their opportunities. We fully support the values expressed in the Town of Arlington’s official statement on racial justice.

Cyrus Dallin believed that America was not living up to its ideal as a beacon of democracy. “If [Americans] are to retain our self-respect and continue to hold our place in the world,” he said, “we must admit our faults and mistakes and do our utmost to make up for them.”

Museums are gatekeepers of our country’s history. Museums choose what stories to tell, who can tell them, and to whom they are told. At the Dallin Museum, we recognize the complex task of interpreting the art of Cyrus Dallin, an early 20th-century sculptor with a unique background who represented Indigenous peoples in his works.

Guided by our mission, we commit to listening to and learning from BIPOC to guide current and future interpretation of Cyrus Dallin’s art. We remain dedicated to nurturing an inclusive environment for all of our visitors while promoting new insights into our shared history. There are several ways in which we are moving forward to begin to put these words into action. These include:

– Partnered with the Massachusett Tribe on a land acknowledgement for the Museum. This acknowledgement displayed in the Museum, on this website, and in our virtual tour.
– Collaborated with the Arlington Human Rights Commission on a panel discussion about Native American imagery in society. We will continue the conversation with the Commission, Arlington High School’s Diversity & Inclusion student committee, and Indigenous community members.
– Formed a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) joint subcommittee comprised of members of the Museum’s nonprofit Board of Directors and municipal Board of Trustees. This committee will develop organizational goals and strategies for building core DE&I knowledge and values within our institution.
– We are embarking on a DE&I “Learning Journey.” Museum board members will engage in conversations with BIPOC artists, curators, and cultural leaders to develop a better understanding of DE&I issues as they relate to museums. These conversations will inform out future DE&I goals and strategies.

We value the knowledge, skills, and partnerships we have gained and will gain through these important and necessary actions. Through this work, we will share Dallin’s commitments to social justice and community and will strengthen our organization.