This Values Commitment was developed by Poster House’s internal DEAI Task Force, which consists of representatives from both full-time and part-time staff across all departments. This document was intended to be a guide and anchor for the future work of the Task Force, and the language was shared with the entire Poster House staff for feedback and commentary before publication. This is a living document that will need to be updated and reviewed frequently. This first edition was published on March 3, 2023.
To read the Easy Read Version of this statement, click Easy Read Version: Values Commitment.
The Short Version
History is relevant
Lead with empathy
Communicate in all directions
As an organization, we value the educational opportunities that posters present to discover new relevancies in historic material, contextualize design, and think critically about the influence and direction of power in visual communication. We intend to speak to a broad and diverse audience of all ages, and to do so we must work in conjunction with those audiences to create meaningful and respectful programming.
We value our staff’s expertise, time, and input. We encourage and invest in staff to become leaders in their field and grow their skills. We believe that every person deserves empathy and fair wages.
We strive to develop anti-racist programming, understanding that history and our current systems are sculpted by racism. We acknowledge we will make mistakes and hope to address them with integrity. Our efforts towards anti-racist programming include the following:
- Welcoming more people into our exhibition review process to ensure many perspectives and histories are considered. Exhibition text is reviewed by experts in the field and with those who identify with the community represented in the exhibition posters.
- Forming an advisory board of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) educators, designers, and consultants who have input on Poster House programming.
- Encouraging marginalized communities to participate in the museum through inclusive hiring practices for programming, curation, and design projects, as well as diversifying our outreach to systemically excluded communities.
Recognizing that systems of oppression are interlocking. In addition to striving to be an anti-racist institution, the museum prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility.
Efforts to address these issues include the following:
- Waiving our admission fee every Friday and participating in free-entry programs, including Culture Pass and Museums for All, among others.
- Consistently refining our hiring and promotion practices to be more equitable by developing interview rubrics and welcoming more staff into the interview process.
- Working with our Accessibility Coordinator to assess the museum’s current state of accessibility and strategize future growth. This includes developing programs around disability justice, integrating multiple forms of accessibility throughout the museum, and strengthening connections with the disabled community.
We value a transparent and contextual approach to historic documents, acknowledging prejudices—such as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, and ableism—that are present in them. We acknowledge the hurt this can cause and seek to acknowledge the problems of the past without causing more harm.
We also value that posters have been worldwide agents of change in the fight for people’s rights, and act as a democratic medium aimed at speaking to people of all backgrounds.
2023 Goals for Poster House:
Acknowledge the museum sector’s outsized impact on the global climate crisis, aim to assess our current environmental impact, and learn what best practices we can impose to lessen it.
Endeavor to start a relationship with the Lenape and other Indigenous communities whose ancestral home includes the land currently used by Poster House, aiming to learn how to include them in our audience and be respectful of their history. We wish to incorporate best practices for land acknowledgments and programming.
Create digital exhibition materials in a second language for one set of exhibitions.
Expand and formalize more professional development opportunities for staff, and create opportunities for civic engagement.
Expand and diversify our outreach to systemically excluded communities in order to welcome them into the museum.
Easy Read Version
Easy Read documents use clear language to make information more accessible. Easy Read documents can be for anyone who struggles with reading.
You can learn more about Easy Read documents. You can learn how to create an Easy Read document by visiting Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Guide to Making Easy Read Resources.
This is Poster House’s first Easy Read document. Please share feedback with email@example.com.
The Short Version
Lead with kindness
Talk to everyone
We at Poster House value that posters teach us about history and design. Posters help us learn about how people in power use words and images. We want to include many different people in our museum. We must work with everyone to make respectful events and exhibits.
We value our staff’s skills, time, and thoughts. We help our staff become leaders and get more skills. We believe that we should all be kind and pay our staff well.
Our Events and Exhibits
We know that racism is a big part of our history and everyday lives.
Racism is the unfair treatment of people because of their race. People, organizations, and governments can be racist. This is a link to an Easy Read document that includes definitions of racism.
We want to be anti-racist and have anti-racist events. Anti-racist means that we actively work to avoid treating people badly because of their race.
We know we will make mistakes. We will be honest when we make mistakes. This is how we will work towards being anti-racist:
- Experts read our exhibit text before it is finished. People who identify with the groups shown in our posters read our exhibit text before it is finished.
- We have a group of people who experience racism who help Poster House create events. The people in this group are teachers, designers, and experts.
- We work to welcome people who are often excluded from museums. We make sure we are welcoming when we hire people.
We know that many different kinds of people get hurt by people in power. These different kinds of hurt are connected. We work to be welcoming. We work to be anti-racist. We also work to be accessible. Accessible means that we invite people with disabilities and other excluded groups into our space and make sure everyone feels comfortable.
We do this when:
- You can enter the museum for free in many ways. On Friday the museum is free.
- We often review how we hire and promote people. We often review how we interview people for jobs. We welcome different staff to join interviews.
- We have an Accessibility Coordinator. An Accessibility Coordinator is a staff person who makes sure the museum includes people with disabilities and other people who need help visiting the museum. The Accessibility Coordinator asks what we can do to make them more comfortable and included.
We know that posters often show a history of harming communities because of their race, sex, sexuality, gender, and disability. Posters can also show a history of colonialism. Colonialism is when a country controls another group’s land, resources, people, or culture. We want to be honest about history without causing more harm.
We like that posters have helped people create change around the world. Posters can be made by everyone.
We know that museums add to the climate crisis. The climate crisis is how humans hurt the earth. We want to learn how we can best limit our harm to the earth.
We plan to start a friendship with the Lenape and Native American communities near Poster House. We want to learn how we can make these groups feel respected and included. We want to learn how to talk about how their land was taken from them. We want to learn how to create good events with them.
We will put the exhibit text in another language online. We will do this for one of our fall exhibits.
Our staff will learn more skills and get involved in our local community.
We will continue talking to communities that aren’t always welcome in museums and welcome them.
- Racism is the unfair treatment of people because of their race. People, organizations, and governments can be racist. This is a link to an Easy Read document about racism.
- Anti-racist means that we actively work to not treat people badly because of their race.
- Accessible means that we invite people with disabilities and other excluded groups into our space and make sure everyone feels comfortable.
- An Accessibility Coordinator is a staff person who makes sure the museum includes people with disabilities and other people who need help visiting the museum.
- Colonialism is when a country controls another group’s land, resources, people, and culture.
- Climate crisis is how humans hurt the earth.