This past November, 1882 Foundation associates Mia and Gabi traveled to New York City to attend the Council of Jewish American Museums (CAJM)’s annual conference, gathering in-person for the first time in several years. The conference was entitled “Re/Imagining: The Future of Culturally Specific Museums” and was produced in partnership with the Association of African American Museums (AAAM). Over the three days, we were able to visit the Jewish Museum, the New York Historical Society, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage. On each day, panels addressed key questions and frontiers in the field of culturally-specific museums, including barriers of representation, inclusivity, and justice. Museum field trips through the conference also took us to the Asia Society, el Museo de Barrio, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum at Eldridge Street, illuminating the vast museums network only found in New York City. CAJM’s collaboration with AAAM also emphasized the importance of challenging the term ‘culturally specific’ with regards to a huge range of identities, with representation from Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Latinx and queer museums and museum professionals.
We were grateful to attend this conference on a generous scholarship from CAJM and for the opportunity to meet many peers both in and out of the museums industry.