All-purple photo of visitors standing at the museum’s front desk. The words “RISD Museum” are incorporated into the design of this area.

Year in Review 



2020 presented monumental challenges across the community, country, and globe. The RISD Museum abruptly closed our doors on March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not yet knowing that we would remain closed to the general public for the next 15 months. 

Although the museum was closed for most of the year, our staff was busy as ever, facilitating online classes and virtual educational programming, conserving objects, planning and installing new exhibitions, and more. We also continued the essential work of advancing equity and dismantling the historically selective, Eurocentric narratives of art history presented at the museum. Efforts such as our Americas Research Initiative—including the creation of our new Henry Luce Curatorial Fellowship for Native American Art—as well as recent work toward repatriating to Benin a looted bronze head of a king (oba), alongside internal efforts like our staff-run All Staff Dialogues program, all work toward our goal of becoming a truly inclusive and responsive museum. The museum also released our anti-racist work plan in the summer of 2020 and, under the guidance of the museum's Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI) program specialist Kajette Solomon, is working deliberately, consistently, and compassionately to confront racism and injustice in its many forms.

Thankfully, we were able to offer access to the galleries for the RISD community (students, faculty, and staff) during the fall and spring semesters of academic year 2020–21, and finally welcomed the public back into the museum starting on June 13, 2021, with safety protocols in place.

This digital document is a snapshot of the past fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. In the past, museum staff has gathered this data annually and presented it internally to our Board of Governors, college leadership, and other stakeholders, but we had not shared much of this information publicly.

In our effort to become a more transparent and equitable institution, we invite you to read more about the museum's activities and finances for this past fiscal year, and we encourage you to reach out to us with questions, suggestions, and feedback.


Explore the many ways the RISD Museum engages with our community.





Blue-toned photo of two visitors in a gallery space. They stand in front of a small framed work. The figure on the right gestures to it.


Learn how we acquire, care for, and share the objects in the RISD Museum collection.





Two masked people set up photography for a textile. A large lamp shines behind them. A green filter has been applied to the photo.


Read about the RISD Museum’s income and spending.





Standing with back to the viewer and in shadow, a person photographs a neon sign. It says, in light blue script, “You belong here.” A purple filter has been applied to the photo.