Getting Started

The Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI) is both a yearlong institute engaged in by leadership teams from museums around the country and a set of resources that can be accessed by individuals working in the museum setting.

During the yearlong process, participating institutions will:

  • Articulate a strategic initiative that can be addressed and implemented by an identified leadership team
  • Develop strategies, timelines, and processes for achieving the strategic initiative
  • Join a cohort of participating museums who share experiences, learning, and challenges
  • Receive facilitated instruction about a framework for increasing institutional capacity around cultural competence

How to Engage in CCLI


1) If you think your institution might be interested and ready to engage in the CCLI process, consider the questions on our Institutional Readiness Assessment.

2) If you would like to learn more about institute alumni, see the testimonials or case studies.

3) If you think your institution might be interested and ready to engage in the CCLI process, visit the Application page. If you still have questions, contact us.

Launch Your Initiative

The primary work of the Cultural Competence Learning Institute is a strategic initiative in which your institution will engage over the course of the year.  As a leadership team, you will identify and design an initiative that will be locally relevant and helpful to your institution’s growth and capacity building. We would like to suggest that the identification of a strategic initiative is a three step process which is completed collectively by your leadership team.  

1) Take stock of your institution’s current cultural competence—Determining where you are in relation to such topics as Staff Diversity, Outreach and Community Involvement, Working Atmosphere, Strategic Planning, and Program Management.  

2) Identify a direction that you would like to work on over the course of the upcoming year.  

3) Get specific about your initiative.  Commit to some specific audiences and strategies, think about what success will look like, and consider who might be part of your larger team.


Cultural Competence is a process of lifelong learning.  It results in knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that allow us to work effectively with others from different cultural backgrounds, increases the ability of organizations to maximize the benefits of diversity within their workforces, and improves the services we offer to our various stakeholders.

Culture refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups.

Diversity encompasses all those differences that make us unique, including but not limited to race, color, ethnicity, language, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socio-economic status, age, and physical and mental ability.  A diverse group, community or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist.

Equity acknowledges differences in privilege, access, and need, and supports space for appropriate adaptation and accommodation.

Inclusion denotes an environment where each individual member of a diverse group feels valued, is able to fully develop his or her potential and contributes to the organization’s success.

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