Open Collective
Open Collective
Museum Workers Speak Relief Fund
Published on May 10, 2020 by Paula Santos

Let us be frank: museum workers were already in crisis before the effects of COVID-19 hit. So many have been scrambling to get by, living paycheck-to-paycheck, piecing together multiple part-time jobs, taking out loans and struggling to pay them off. Pay disparities between leadership and frontline staff have perpetuated racial and economic inequity in institutions that profess to serve the public good. Employer-paid health insurance or paid time off is a pipe dream for many. 

It has become clear to us that when our institutions will not stand in solidarity with us, we must stand in solidarity with each other. This is why we have come together to organize a mutual aid relief fund for museum workers. Our effort will operate using the principles of Mutual Aid: organized by and for museum workers, founded on equity, trust, solidarity, and empowerment of our members without means-testing or conditions for receiving aid. 

Our vision is one of radical redistribution, in which individuals leverage whatever privilege they can to support their peers who have been disposed of by museums. We will raise funds to put $500 in the bank accounts of as many museum workers as we possibly can with a starting goal of raising $50,000, without any form of means testing, as a demonstration of radical trust and solidarity. We learned long ago that the institution does not love us, that museums would not have our backs. But as museum workers, we can lean on one another for support and solidarity. And as more museum workers continue to speak up, we can build upon this network of support and advocacy to inspire more radical action.

Small acts of solidarity add up to a movement! If we could get 100 people to donate $12 (or 1%) from their stimulus check, that adds up to $1,200 that could be distributed to workers to make rent and buy groceries. If 5,000 people donated $12 right now, we could surpass our initial goal.

If you have more to give, we gratefully welcome your support.