Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Susan Badger Booth

Second Advisor

Dennis O'Grady

Third Advisor

John Cooper


In an American society that is increasingly more multicultural and divers�� every day, diversity in cultural organizations has been the subject of much research dedicated to ensuring our cultural institutions and their boards, employees and overall organizational structure meet the rising demand for inclusion and equity in our nation. The American Alliance of Museums completed a national report in 2017 in which they found that "museum directors and board chairs believe board diversity and inclusion are important to advance their missions, but have failed to prioritize action steps to achieve it", among other key findings that identified a complete lack of diversity as being a top issue within the museum sector. Thus, this paper will begin by analyzing the history of museums and their roles in society, then it will analyze the American Alliance of Museums 2017 National Report to examine the key findings and fully comprehend the issues regarding diversity, inclusion, access and equity within our nations' museums' staff and board. This includes defining what these terms mean in the scope of the research. Next it will present the implications drawn from the report as well as conclusions drawn from other literary work on the topic. This paper will end with a reflection on my experience as a student researcher and how I would like to move forward with this research in future educational and professional endeavors.