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Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion

Our DEAI Statement

 

Genesee Country Village & Museum is actively committed to broadening our understanding of DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion), and making it part of everything that we do. Guided by our mission, values, and inclusive culture of curiosity, we strive to dismantle inequity and address erasure through ongoing dynamic interpretation, communications, research, and outreach. We celebrate the stories of our shared past; connect the rich diversity of the 19th century to the present; and collaborate with the communities we serve to create welcoming spaces for 
learning, work, exploration, and play.  

Our DEAI Commitment

 

Genesee Country Village & Museum is actively committed to broadening our understanding of DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion), and making it part of everything that we do.  Guided by our mission, values, and inclusive culture of curiosity, we strive to dismantle inequity and address erasure through ongoing dynamic interpretation, communications, research, and outreach. 

Genesee Country Village & Museum fosters an environment of equity, inclusion, and belonging, with the intent that all employees, volunteers, and guests feel safe, welcome, celebrated, and cherished throughout their museum experiences.  We acknowledge both historical and present-day cultural inequities, and the continued harm perpetuated toward Black and Indigenous communities, people of the global majority, women – particularly women of color – LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, those with disabilities, and all people at the intersection, who experience marginalization and disenfranchisement through systemic bias and discrimination. 

We recognize that GCV&M interprets a period of American history in which the experiences of heterosexual cis-gender white men were the dominant, recorded, and prioritized narratives.  This emphasis has had a detrimental impact on the way we have collected and interpreted history, art, and the natural environment – creating a void of diverse voices, or relegating their experiences and perspectives to token stories or stereotypes, and thus subject to erasure.  Historical lack of access, social injustice, and misrepresentation or absence of representation are lived experiences within the communities we serve, and to rectify this, we must amplify their voices and stories. 

As our understanding of these systemic injustices progresses, we will better serve our mission – to enrich life today by connecting people with history, art, and nature – by thoughtfully and deliberately applying our values of Collaboration, Exploration, Inclusivity, Stewardship, Responsibility, and Relevance.  Together with our board, staff, volunteers, partners, and stakeholders, we pledge a holistic approach to integrating diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion into sitewide practice.  We invite the public we serve to help keep our institution accountable for equitable public programming, staffing, and business practices; and responsible for sharing a more complete, inclusive history as cultural stewards of public memory. 

We welcome our public to learn with us as we celebrate the stories of our shared past; connect the rich diversity of the 19th century to the present; and collaborate with the communities we serve to create welcoming spaces for learning, work, exploration, and play. 

Our DEAI Action Plan

 

In conjunction with Genesee Country Village & Museum’s Strategic Plan, effective 2023 – 2026, we have adopted the following goals for our sitewide approach to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

Keep scrolling to explore the four pillars of our action plan – Research & Interpretation, Communications & Outreach, Audience, and Organizational Culture – and select examples of programming, partnerships, ongoing staff training, site policies, and initiatives.

Research & Interpretation

 

Responsibly curate and expand the stories we tell to better reflect the rich diversity of the 19th century in New York State.

Conduct new research focused on the experiences of Black and Native American peoples, women – particularly those of color – and other historically marginalized individuals, giving voice to their impact, struggles, collective resilience, and legacies through the present day.

Broaden the narratives and cultural perspectives represented in Museum programming, collections, and exhibits, for the education and enjoyment of audiences of all ages.

Cultivate strong partnerships to build community trust. 

Seek both local and national collaborators from multicultural backgrounds, who offer diverse and valuable perspectives, and affinity with the history, art, or other experience being interpreted.

Exploring new stories and partnerships at our annual Maple Sugar Festival

Each year as part of our Maple Sugar Festival (mid-to-late March), we increase our efforts to explore new stories and form new community partnerships.

We seek to honor ancestral and modern traditions of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ People, restore Indigenous origins to the maple syrup story in our interpretation, and incorpitate Indigenous storytelling, dance and performance into the format of the event. 

We would like to recognize our partners Michael and Tonia Galban, Perry Ground (pictured here), Veronica Reitter, and the Indigenous Spirit Dancers. We gratefully acknowledge their collective time, talents, and the opportunities they’ve provided for all to learn from and engage with Hodinöhsö:ni’ maple culture through storytelling, music, dance, education, and oral history

Sharing untold stories and underrepresented voices in the John L. Wehle Gallery

New to our John L. Wehle Gallery in 2023 is Becoming Gendered, Garment as Gender Artifact – a multimedia exhibit exploring how 19th-century Americans performed and navigated the changing landscape of gendered fashion. 

Becoming Gendered offers guests a wide variety of historic gendered garments for men, women, and children spanning over a century. Hegemonic gendered clothing for adult men and women is compared to the development of recreational and leisurewear. Understructures for men, women and even children are exhibited as evolving tools worn to achieve gendered ideals.  Challenging these 19th-century gendered norms in fashion and garment are the Dandy, the Bloomer, Dress Reformers and Women’s Rights advocates, the lady cyclist, female impersonators, and religious leaders such as the Public Universal Friend. Hodinöhsö:ni’ garment is exhibited as an entry-point into the discussion of how the Western gender binary system directly affects the gendering of 19th-century Hodinöhsö:ni’ clothing.  

We would like to recognize partners, lenders, and contributors to the exhibit, including Rochester Museum & Science Center, the New York State Museum, the Holland Land Office Museum, The Oneida Community Mansion House, The Ontario County Historical Society, The Yates County History Center (Scherer Carriage House), The Strong National Museum of Play, Gandondagan, and more.

Exhibit sponsor:

Celebrating Black history and culture at our Honoring Juneteenth event

Our annual Honoring Juneteenth event (third iteration held in June of 2023), celebrates and shares regional stories of Black community members, leaders, and individuals.

As visitors explore the Historic Village, they step into timed immersive experiences that showcase Black history and culture from the Genesee Valley Region – in the 19th century, and today. 

We would like to recognize our 2023 partners and collaborators Cheyney McKnight (Not Your Momma’s History), David Shakes and The North Star Players, Rich Newman (RIT),  Britney Jones (Mama J’s Bakery), 540WMain, and more.

2023 event sponsor:

Centering Diversity at the Nature Center

GCV&M acknowledges that, in modern years, outdoor spaces have remained largely segregated due to economic access, overt racism, micro-aggressions, and redlining, which has alienated People of Color from parks, green spaces, and even tree-lined streets; but People of Color have historically and continue to have deep relationships with land.

The Nature Center is committed to learning and telling stories that center the relationship of all people to the natural world; addressing erasure of Black and Indigenous individuals and communities in outdoor spaces; and joining in the growing movements providing access and celebrating diversity in the outdoors. Learn more about the history of segregation in outdoor spaces and one current, exciting movement in the birding world! As birds are renamed for their characteristics, we hope you’ll join GCV&M naturalists and educators in learning these new names and celebrating the birds and the birding world’s embrace of diversity and inclusion.

Communications & Outreach

Educate our audiences on the latest DEAI-related developments and provide consistent progress updates for institutional transparency and accountability.

Using the above research & interpretation as a foundation for public outreach and ongoing communications with staff, volunteers, donors, members, and guests, we will leverage our website, social media presence, and all methods of messaging to communicate the importance of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion within our organization.

Foster accurate and educational dialogue and cultivate digital environments that are welcoming and inclusive spaces. GCV&M reserves the right to hide or delete any hateful, violent, racist, homophobic, transphobic, derogatory, or otherwise abusive comments on our public platforms, and expect our digital audiences to respect our social media policy.

Rochester Pride Parade 2023: History Is for Everyone

GCV&M staff, volunteers, and supporters proudly marched in the Rochester Pride Parade on Saturday, July 15, 2023 – a first for the Museum!

Following a month of social media posts recognizing and celebrating vibrant LGBTQIA+ history, community, and connections to the GCV&M collections, we were thrilled to announce our participation this year – and intend to make it a new, annual tradition. By participating in the Pride Parade and partnering with local organizations like Trillium Health to provide our staff with ongoing training around LGBTQIA+ welcoming vocabulary and allyship, we want our museum community to know that History Is for Everyone!

Click here to buy your own History is for Everyone t-shirt to spread this welcoming and inclusive message within your own organization or community!

Community Management Plans and Social Media Policies

GCV&M is actively committed to ensuring that digital spaces remain welcoming, safe, fun, and educational environments for our communities.

This is ensured by the deployment of Community Management Plans. Community Management Plans lay out communication strategies to foster accurate and educational dialogue, and cultivate digital environments that are welcoming and inclusive spaces. The Communication Team utilizes a temperature-gauge system to evaluate comments on public platforms and determine appropriate follow-up – whether that be addressing a legitimate concern or curiosity, or managing hate speech. 

In doing such, when necessary we reserve the right to hide or delete any hateful, violent, homophobic, racist, derogatory, or otherwise abusive comments on our public platforms. 

Questions about Community Management Plans? Contact our Director of Communications at pengard@gcv.org. 

Audience

 

Extend a universal welcome to audiences of all backgrounds. 

Adapt existing experiences to accommodate varied abilities, and design new programming to better support a broad range of interests and abilities.

Remove barriers to participation whenever possible, especially for historically underrepresented groups. Work to ensure equity in physical and financial access to Museum experiences and resources.

Museums for All Program

Genesee Country Village & Museum is a proud member of the Museums for All initiative, enabling financial access to Museum experiences and resources.

Through Museums for All, those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) can gain free or reduced admission to more than 1,000 museums throughout the United States simply by presenting their SNAP EBT (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Electronic Benefit Transfer) card.

Genesee Country Village & Museum offers a reduced rate of $3 per ticket at the door (for both regular daily admission AND special events), for up to four guests, with on-site purchase to any visitor who is an EBT card holder.

 Supported by:

Expanding access to education programs

GCV&M’s education staff dedicate time and grant-funded resources to ensure programs are financially accessible to all students Thanks to the generous support of the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation and others, funding is available to economically disadvantages school districts for admission and, in some instances, busing.
 
Additionally, the education team has partnered with Rochester’s Anti-Racist Curriculum Project to review and revamp curriculum guides for all on-site programs and is continually working to include authentic and diverse stories and experiences from across Western New York. We believe it is important not only for non-white children to see themselves represented in programming, but also for white students to learn about races and cultures different from themselves.

Campus Accessibility Efforts

Genesee Country Village & Museum is committed to providing a welcoming and positive experience for our guests. 

The Museum’s modern facilities (such as the Gallery and Nature Center) are universally accessible, as are part of the historic structures including: Toll House, Livingston-Backus House, Humphrey House, Foster House, Pioneer Farmstead Barn, Blacksmith Shop, Cooper Shop, Drug Store, Tinsmith Shop, Flint Hill Pottery, Kieffer’s Place, Jones Farm, and Hamilton House Carriage Barn. Our Digital Map shows which buildings are accessible.

Wheelchair accessibility may be limited due to weather. Discounted admission is offered for individuals with disabilities: adult $12, senior citizen (62+)/college student $10, youth $8, able companion/aide is free. 

We are also pleased to be able to offer ASL interpretation for our guests during select special events and programs at GCV&M. For any event during which guests can find ASL interpreters, we will indicate on the event webpage the times and locations so that guests can plan their day accordingly. 

GCV&M is excited to announce that the John L. Wehle Gallery is now equipped with four automated doors (at the main entry, and in the bathrooms), making our collections all the more accessible to our visitors. This project was made possible by the Lisk Morris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 

Organizational Culture

 

Build and maintain a successful workforce who actively contribute to and value an inclusive, collaborative, supportive, and effective work environment, which prioritizes curiosity and belonging.

Recruit and retain a more diverse team of staff, volunteers, board members, and leaders at all levels of the organization.

Engage all members of the staff and board in regular and ongoing learning opportunities regarding anti-racism, unconscious bias, accessibility, equity, and other cultural competency trainings.

Prioritize fundraising, donor relationships, and appropriate funding allocation to enable and encourage equitable staffing, training initiatives, community partnership, expansive research, and collecting, and diverse and accessible programming.

Establish a cross-departmental DEAI steering committee with representatives from all organizational levels to strategize, advise, execute, and assess GCV&M’s efforts, holding ourselves accountable both internally and externally.

Conduct and apply staff feedback from twice-annual workplace climate surveys to measure our internal progress and effectiveness in maintaining the inclusive culture of curiosity and belonging to which we aspire.

Integrate diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion into all staff performance goals and evaluations.

Staff Training Oppourtunities

Genesee Country Village & Museum is actively investing in staff learning and engagement with focused and regular training sessions.

All year-round staff at GCV&M are required to attend paid training quarterly. We encourage staff to take advantage of free, fun culture-building activities, lunch-and-learns, community speakers, and virtual and in-person programs, and offer a robust line-up of trainings with discussion groups.

To this date, training opportunities have covered topics including historical and modern-day inequities, anti-racism, unconscious bias, accessibility, diversifying narratives, and using inclusive language. Some examples of recent trainings include: 

Contact Us

If you have any questions related to DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion) at Genesee Country Village & Museum, please contact our Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at ameck@gcv.org or by phone at (585) 294-8275.