It’s International Museum Day. As mask mandates continue to be lifted across the country, museums and galleries are grappling with how to reopen safely but also how to harness a movement that predated the pandemic: efforts to unionize the art world.
Gains are being made. Almost 200 workers at the Whitney Museum moved to form a union this week, supporting the filing of a petition to vote with the National Labor Relations Board. Seventy workers at Maine’s Portland Museum of Art voted to form a union. And workers at the New Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, moved to unionize in recent years.
But familiar challenges are faced in settings notoriously fraught with interlocking injustices and institutional interests. If you’re among the museum and gallery workers finding ways to advance labor rights during the pandemic, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what you’re experiencing, how and if you’re able to recharge, and if you want anonymity in sharing your stories.