Jenny Gross, New York Times, May 5, 2020
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston said Tuesday that it would establish a $500,000 fund devoted to diversity initiatives, a move that comes a year after a group of black middle school students said they had been subjected to racist comments while on a field trip there.
The museum also said that as part of an agreement with the state, it would do more to engage with and support local communities, artists and young people of color, according to Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general.
During the field trip, one museum employee was accused of telling students from the Davis Academy, “No food, no drink and no watermelon.” After an investigation, the museum said it could not verify the allegations. It said an employee recalled telling the students that “no food, no drink and no water bottles” were allowed in the galleries.
The black students felt they had been singled out by security guards who paid no attention to white students, The Boston Globe reported at the time. One patron at the museum told a female student that she should pay attention so she would not have to become a stripper, the newspaper reported, citing Arturo J. Forrest, the school’s principal.
The Museum of Fine Arts conducts training for employees and volunteers on unconscious bias and, in response to the episode, has created a new position of senior director of belonging and inclusion. The museum will also implement an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy, according to Ms. Healey’s statement.