Purpose, Vision, and Values


The Harvard Art Museums promote exploratory thinking about art, working across disciplines and in collaboration with students, faculty, and the public. Through research, teaching, and professional training, we provide a foundation for understanding art's relevance to the defining issues of our time and support the continued development of a rapidly changing museum field. We advance knowledge by preserving, documenting, sharing, and interpreting our collections, which span a broad range of time periods and geographies.


Powered by cross-institutional research, exchange with community and global networks, and expanded teaching and training, we will prepare the next generation of civic and cultural leaders to shape a more just society.



We seek truth, repair, and growth through the candid re-examination and evolution of our collections, narratives, programs, and organizational frameworks. We are dedicated to the ongoing work of dismantling racist and historically inequitable structures at the Harvard Art Museums and in the wider museum field.


We are driven by the excitement of learning and by our commitment to producing original scholarship. Our research methodologies are varied and designed to fit the project or question under consideration. We exchange knowledge with our global community as well as our visitors and friends.


We recognize and value the knowledge and beneficial outcomes that emerge from the exchange of diverse perspectives. We will seek out and encourage these partnerships to build accuracy and accountability into our work, to celebrate our differences as strengths, and to continuously learn from one another.


We support a culture of equity and inclusion, in which everyone can experience our collections, exhibitions, and programs with minimal barriers and maximum access. We embrace openness and seek to promote the joy of discovery.


We value our community of colleagues and peers and strive to inspire each other. We respect expertise, act with honesty, promote collaboration, and work as equal partners to build and strengthen an environment where we all can thrive.


We believe that organizations remain vibrant and have the most impact when ideas, practices, and relationships reflect and respond to evolving contexts and social conditions.