March 7, 2024

Museums Respond Summit Convened 100+ Leaders to Inform Nationwide Strategies

IMLS Deputy Director of Museum Services Laura Huerta Migus delivers opening remarks at “Museums Respond: Strategies for Countering Antisemitism and Hate”.

Washington, DC—The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) held an invitation-only summit “Museums Respond: Strategies for Countering Antisemitism and Hate” on March 5–6 in Washington, DC, where federal officials and museum leaders shared their perspectives on addressing antisemitism, with the goal of informing museum programming across the country. The summit was convened as part of IMLS’s commitments under President Biden’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, released in May 2023.

The National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism includes more than 100 actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to address the rise of antisemitism in the U.S. The United States has recently experienced an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents and discriminatory acts, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. American Jews account for 2.4 percent of the U.S. population, but they are the victims of 63 percent of reported religiously motivated hate crimes.

The summit is a key action under the national strategy. IMLS’s deliverables support the strategy’s aims to increase awareness and understanding of antisemitism, including its threat to America; reverse the normalization of antisemitism, including online antisemitism; and build cross-community solidarity to counter hate. IMLS is the leading federal supporter of the critical role of museums and libraries as trusted, dynamic public spaces that respond to community needs, preserve diverse history and culture, and create a sense of belonging for all Americans.

“The current crisis of antisemitism threatens not only the Jewish community, but all Americans,” said Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff. “Museums are in a unique position to educate their communities and foster dialogue that stamps out hate and brings people together. President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the entire Biden-Harris Administration will continue to work closely with the arts community to tackle all forms of hate.”

The summit focused on building cross-community solidarity, sharing model resources for educators on teaching about histories of antisemitism and Jewish American heritage, and developing a collection of materials and toolkits on countering antisemitism that can be used by community educators and organizations.

More than 100 registrants attended the two-day event and heard from federal and museum leaders who discussed:

  • The evolution of antisemitic narratives

  • Ways to accurately collect and document contemporary forms of hate

  • Inclusive and productive community conversations

  • Trends in Holocaust education approaches

  • Strategies for communicating with children and young adults about antisemitism and hate

  • Ways to create opportunities and dialogue around creative expression to combat antisemitism

  • Strategies for building and sustaining cross-cultural community and professional partnerships

“We are proud to partner with the Council of American Jewish Museums, which has led this field in efforts to address antisemitism,” said Deputy Director of IMLS’s Office for Museum Services Laura Huerta Migus. “Our goal is to empower and support museums in their roles as community anchors and trusted institutions so that they can become active allies, while encouraging dialogue and advancing equity so that hate has no place to thrive.”

Based on learnings from the summit, IMLS will distribute a toolkit to museums, libraries, and archives that will provide best practices and curated educational resources from museums to address antisemitism and to help Americans understand, evaluate, and discern the reliability and accuracy of information. In addition, IMLS has completed the following commitments under the National Strategy:

  • IMLS increased learning opportunities for the nation’s more than 40,000 museums, archives, and libraries on both Jewish American history, such as Jewish contributions to agriculture, and histories of antisemitism, including the Holocaust.

  • IMLS strengthened its funding streams to encourage libraries, archives, and museums to leverage IMLS funding to take direct action and support cross-community solidarity building efforts to counter antisemitism and other forms of hate.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.