The leaders of art museums are responsible for the collection, programming, and employment strategies that influence the health and vibrancy of our public culture. In the years following the start of the pandemic and calls for racial justice after the murder of George Floyd, art museum directors’ strategies have shifted towards a dramatic increase in virtual and digital programming, as well more highly prioritizing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, according to findings from the 2022 Art Museum Director Survey, released today. This report provides rich evidence on how museum directors’ perspectives have changed since the first cycle of this survey closed in March 2020 on a range of topics including museum revenue, staffing and management, and programming partnerships. It also provides a benchmark for future research on how museums partner with organizations that serve vulnerable communities and their experiences with damages due to climate change.

With funding from the Kress and Mellon Foundations and in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) the survey was fielded [date]. We received completed responses from 181 directors—identified through AAMD and AAM—including 81 directors from academic museums and 100 directors from non-academic museums (referred to as “municipal museums” in the report) for a response rate of 44 percent.

Key Findings from this report include:

  • Managing change is a key competency for directors, and directors see diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) initiatives as central to their own work and their museum’s strategies.
  • Directors identified providing a living wage and pay equity as very high priorities among their DEIA strategies. They also rate increasing staff diversity, reaching new audiences, and ensuring accessibility for disabled visitors as high priorities.
  • The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of museums, but approaches to digitization vary. A higher percentage of academic museum directors than municipal directors reported digitizing their collections in the past two years.
  • Museums have not solved the revenue/expense bind, challenging their ability to address pay equity concerns. Revenue ratios are the same as before the pandemic, while personnel costs remain the highest expense category for museums.
  • Directors are optimistic about adding employee positions in a number of areas; however they also report increased difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees.
  • A high number of museum directors are preparing for future climate crises or have already experienced them. Many have adopted assessment tools to measure their carbon footprint.

The 2022 Art Museum Director Survey is one important facet of many ongoing projects studying cultural heritage institutions at Ithaka S+R, including the A*CENSUS II: All Archivists Survey Report, the forthcoming 2022 Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey and BTA 2022 Art Museum Trustee Survey reports, and the 2022 Library Director Survey, which launched earlier in October.

We are grateful to each of the directors that shared their perspectives with us in this cycle and the previous, as well as our advisors and our partners at AAMD and AAM. We also thank the Kress and Mellon Foundations for recognizing the value of measuring changes in the views of leaders over time through their support of this project. We hope this report will be useful to all members of our cultural heritage community, including art museum directors as well as trustees and leaders at similar institutions. For any questions or inquiries please reach out to Liam Sweeney or Joanna Dressel at or