Bethany Johnson, DEIA Coordinator at Field Museum in Chicago

I interned at Krannert Art Museum for two semesters with Allyson Purpura, the Curator of Global African Arts. I was thinking of becoming a Curator of African American History and African Arts.

During my time at KAM, I ended up learning so much about museum decolonization, repatriation, and overall social justice within a museum context. It grew in me a passion to be able to tell stories from underrepresented communities and cultures, ones that had been left out of the Western museum cultural canon of what was deemed “important”.

When I graduated, it was in the heart of the pandemic so most museums were closed and not hiring new staff. So I started to think about how I could keep my passion for spreading knowledge and awareness about underrepresented groups and ways to make a change in our society but apply it to a wider range of fields. This is how I got into Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion work.

I started working as a DEAI Consultant, helping to teach a wide range of companies on topics related to DEAI (race and racism, implicit bias, microaggressions, etc.) and ways their organization could begin implementing new practices.

However, I knew deep down my passion was still in working with museums. I saw a job opening at the Field Museum in Chicago and decided to apply.

I have just been offered a job as a DEAI Coordinator at one of the largest and oldest museums in America!

I owe a huge portion of my journey to my time at KAM for showing me that the museum space can be used as a forum for social justice for all. I hope to make everyone at KAM proud in my next endeavor!