Black in Natural History Museums (BiNHMs) was founded by Adania Flemming, a Ph.D. student, and researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History. According to its website, the organization’s mission is to “… inspire Black professionals worldwide to reimagine their relationship with the biodiversity of our planet while showcasing the vast number of career opportunities available in Natural History Museum and related areas.

“One of my personal life missions is to create more spaces for Black people in natural history museums (NHMs), spaces for them to be able to be their full selves. Despite the history of NHMs, I want Black people to feel empowered to share their stories and those of their ancestors who have had much input in NHMs, though often untold,” Fleming said.  

The organization seeks to connect people with mentors and diversify natural history museums. In 2021, BiNHMs put on their first “Black in Natural History Museums Week” to feature various museums and professionals and inspire Black professionals in the field. This year, they held their second annual BiNHM week from October 16-22, and I was able to attend a few of the featured events. Personally, I do hope to one day work as a researcher in a natural history museum and I am hyper-aware of the lack of diversity in the field. Attending the events helped me feel affirmed in my career choice and that there is an opportunity for me in the profession. 

On October 18, via social media, I was able to engage with the Behind –the Scenes event and learn more about museum professionals. The purpose of this event was to inform people about the day-to-day life of a museum professional. As someone looking to break into the field, it was interesting to hear about what their daily schedules look like. It was also nice to see people that looked like me, as it can be discouraging to constantly navigate a space that lacks diversity and representation. Someone that stood out to me was Rhema Uche-Dike, a Ph.D. student at the American Museum of Natural History. I enjoyed learning about his research on the evolutionary biology of dragonflies because it is not something that I am familiar with. The next event I attended was “Contemporary Figures.” This was a panel that spotlighted curators in natural history museums. The panel allowed me to better understand the importance of curation and how this space needs to be diversified as well. Some of the other events during the week spotlighted ways to obtain funding, connect people with Black mentors, a scavenger hunt to explore your local natural history museums and a 7-day global BioBlitz. If you are interested in joining or getting involved with BiNHM, follow them on all of their social media platforms and check out their “Network” tab on their website.  

Overall, the week was very eye-opening and affirming. Since the conclusion of the week, I joined the community and will remain involved. I feel that BiNHMs is a great resource for future leaders in natural history.