PA Museums Statement

PA Museums, Pennsylvania’s statewide museum association, acknowledges that the senseless murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many others over many years are the result of racism, and we condemn the acts of law enforcement officers involved in these crimes. Our organization condemns these murders and systemic racism, and we condemn violence against protesters that have followed. Black lives matter.

PA Museums will continue to amplify the voices of thought leaders in the museum field and sharing resources with our members like the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s “Talking About Race” web portal, a collection of more than 100 multimedia tools, including videos, scholarly articles, and exercises to help educators, parents, and others develop the language to have productive conversations about race. PA Museums calls on its members to join us in releasing similar and meaningful statements that include actions they will undertake as an institution to support the Black community. The museum community must address contemporary issues and can offer examples of historical relevance such as the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia and the murder of Jonny Gammage in Pittsburgh. PA Museums asks our members to listen and learn from their communities to remain engaged with them.

PA Museums recognizes that these words are not enough. Actions are needed to support our community of staff, members, and museum visitors who are Black. We will work to do better, including taking the following steps:

PA Museums will direct its Nominating and Governance Committee to make sure that all future selections include candidates who are Black as well as other people of color.

PA Museums will ensure that the Accessibility Excellence project includes race in its intersectional approach to accessibility.

PA Museums will direct its Advocacy Committee to create a plan to better support our staff, members, and museum visitors who are Black and people of color.

As the Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch recently said, “History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society—but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice.”

PA Museums Code of Conduct


PA Museums is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment that is free of bias and intimidation. In keeping with federal laws, state laws, and non-profit best practices, PA Museums expressly prohibits any form of discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, body size, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, parenthood, status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran, or any other protected classification.

Discriminatory or harassing conduct by or towards any awardee, contractor, employee, member, grantee, honoree, participant, vender, volunteer, or other person participating in PA Museum programs, activities, or grant funded projects will not be tolerated.


PA Museums’ Code of Conduct is intended to cover all PA Museums members, contractors, employees, grantees, honorees, participants, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and any other person participating in a PA Museums sponsored program, activity, or grant funded project.

PA Museums’ sponsored programs and activities include, but are not limited to: the annual conference, committee meetings, trainings, workshops, volunteer projects, publications, grant funded projects, scholarships, and awards.

By obtaining PA Museums’ membership, registering to present or attend the PA Museums’ annual conference, applying for a scholarship or award from PA Museums, or participation in any PA Museums program or activity, all participants commit to maintaining respectful and ethical relationships in accordance with the PA Museums’ Code of Conduct.


  • Discrimination is disparate, unjust or prejudicial treatment of others based on human difference.
  • Harassment includes but is not limited to:
    • Sexual harassment, according to U.S. Federal guidelines is “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Importantly, the legal definition includes harassment that is sexist rather than sexual: it can “include offensive remarks about a person’s sex,” with this form being “illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.”
    • Sexual assault which includes actual or attempted physical attack and any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Sexual assault is illegal.
    • Physical contact without consent or after a request to stop
    • Comments or actions the minimize a person’s life choices, identity, or safety
    • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent, except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse
    • Sustained or deliberate disruption of presentations or events regardless of the reason or basis for such disruption
    • Deliberate intimidation or stalking of any kind—in person or online
    • Collection and distribution of harassing photography or recordings
    • Threat or acts of violence
    • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviors

General instructions and directions shall not constitute harassment under this Cod of Conduct if communicated in a manner that is in keeping with the principles set forth above.


Anyone who experiences or witnesses any violation of PA Museums’ Code of Conduct should report the incident to the PA Museums Executive Director or the Board of Directors as soon as possible.

If you witness sexual harassment or assault, respond first to the affected person’s needs and safety. Support that person if they choose to report the incident but respect their decision to report or not report.

Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to personal or public safety is advised to contact 911.

PA Museums is not an adjudicating body. However, the PA Museums Board of Directors will receive complaints to support addressing grievances associated with PA Museums’ programs, activities, and grant funded projects.

  • Complaints may be submitted to Rusty Baker, Executive Director,, 717 909-4951
  • PA Museums will promptly investigate all complaints which shall include but not be limited to:
    • Discussing the complaint with the complainant.
    • Reviewing relevant documents and electronic materials relevant to the complaint
    • Discussing the complaint with the alleged harasser and give them an opportunity to respond to the complaint if the complainant wishes for the Board to actively participate in resolving the complaint.
    • Interviewing, and where appropriate, obtaining statement from witnesses to the complaint allegations.
    • Implementing appropriate disciplinary action.
    • Determining that a complaint in unmerited and ending the investigation.


PA Museums is committed to enforcing this code of conduct at all levels of its organization. Anyone who engages in discriminatory or harassing conduct will be subject to disciplinary action from the Board of Directors.

  • Individuals who are currently sanctioned for assault or harassment by an adjudicating institution (e.g., a university) will be barred from PA Museums programs, activities, and grant funded projects. Appeals may be requested in advance of participation in an activity or program; on-site conference registration for such individuals will not be permitted.
  • Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
  • The PA Museums Board may take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from an activity, program, or grant funded project without warning or refund.
  • The PA Museums Board reserves the right to prohibit participation in future programs, activities, and grant funded projects in addition to rescinding association awards, grants, and/or scholarship, and revoking or prohibiting membership.


This code of conduct was adopted by the PA Museums Board of Directors on June 8, 2020.