An Open Letter to our Community

From the Board of Trustees

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has a tremendous opportunity to collaborate, communicate, and connect with a broad public. We continue to evolve as a lead institution in Connecticut’s arts community. It is a responsibility that we fully embrace and intend to act on purposefully and relentlessly. Our path forward will build upon a foundation skillfully constructed by a talented professional staff, whose judgement and determination contribute mightily to our progress. 

Art has the exceptional ability to reflect the present as well as the past, and often provides a vision for the future. As civic institutions, museums across the nation are being called to play a consequential role in advancing equity and inclusion. The Wadsworth strives to be an institution that is a welcoming and inclusive place where visitors and staff are valued, respected, and embraced.  Visitors of all backgrounds must be able to see themselves in our programs, exhibitions, and collections to feel truly included in the life of the museum.

We understand that becoming the museum we want to be requires actions beyond words, and we are committed to ensuring that these values guide all that we do—from the scope of our programs and services, to how we collect, exhibit, and interpret art, to our hiring practices and internal culture. Fortunately, we are already moving in this direction.   

We are all immensely proud of the transformational work of our staff. Our education teams and docents, for example, have worked closely with many local school systems and community groups in the development of new program initiatives. Our Wadsworth Welcome program opens the doors of the museum to every Hartford resident offering free admission, hosting thousands of our neighbors each year. Second Saturdays for Families programs, and other community engagement initiatives continue to broaden access to the museum.

As these efforts and others accelerate in depth and breadth, we intend to draw increasingly on the expertise, energy, and ingenuity of people both in and outside the museum. We will deepen bonds like our collaboration with The Amistad Center for Art and Culture as we seek to strengthen our understanding and broaden our message.  Recognizing that more needs to be done does not diminish our past work, and we are excited by what is to come. We will keep breaking out of the “castle”, even as we continue to invite more people in.

The caliber of our collections, exhibitions and scholarship are an unwavering hallmark of the institution, and highly attractive to audiences around the world and close to home. What’s on the immediate horizon is highlighted throughout our website, and we look forward to seeing even more visitors return, or join us for the first time, as public health and safety guidelines permit.  We are humbled to be the stewards of the artistic treasures in our collections and privileged to have accomplished staff, talented volunteers, and remarkable donors who all care deeply about the Wadsworth. As we continue to teach and learn, listen and lead, our gaze is fixed not on where we stand, but on potential yet to be realized. That is why this time is so promising. Together we embark on the next chapter of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s journey. Thank you for travelling with us.