Posted on October 12, 2021

Famed Art Institute of Chicago Fires All Docents, Primarily White Women

Hank Berrien, Daily Wire, October 11, 2021

The famed Art Institute of Chicago fired all of its volunteer docents in early September, and allegedly they did so because the group of predominantly white, retired women was not “diverse” and “inclusive” enough.

The Art Institute of Chicago 2021-2022 Docent Council fired back on September 13 in a letter delineating the numerous contributions the docents had made over the years. They wrote:

We believe we were dismissed (1) because the museum’s perspective is that the current docent corps’ demographics do not meet the need of the strategic plan (2) the museum concluded that reengineering the docent program was a step towards achieving the museum’s important goal of creating a culture of diversity and inclusion.

The editorial board of The Chicago Tribune condemned the move to fire the docents on September 27,  citing what they called the “weaselly letter” from Veronica Stein, the Woman’s Board executive director of learning and engagement that was sent to the museum’s roughly 150 volunteer docents. The Tribune continued, “Once you cut through the blather, the letter basically said the museum had looked critically at its corps of docents, a group dominated by mostly (but not entirely) white, retired women with some time to spare, and found them wanting as a demographic.”


“Frankly, the museum would certainly have had a tough lawsuit on its hands for age and race discrimination (there were laws against that, last time we checked) were it not for one thing: Everyone being nixed was a volunteer,” the Tribune noted. {snip}