Historians Call for Public Accountability and Transparency from Missouri History Museum
**Note: This petition was drafted by St. Louis citizens concerned by the museum's actions. It was not prepared by individual historians or historical organizations.

Background: (http://tinyurl.com/ohxmn4k)

We, the undersigned historians, voice our opposition to the Missouri History Museum’s demand that the subject of Palestine be excluded from the panel discussion “Ferguson to Ayotzinapa to Palestine: Solidarity and Collaborative Action”.
As academics and educators we are appalled that an institution dedicated to preserving human history would marginalize a people by insisting that they be removed from a previously agreed-upon panel, on specious grounds. The statement released on your website explains your decision as the result of significant changes made to the original proposed panel and that the addition of Palestine “diluted” the panel’s focus. The museum had agreed to the inclusion of Palestine weeks before the event was to take place, had publicized the event, and voiced no concerns over the makeup of the panel until two days before the event.
The museum’s actions violate the basic values of institutions that engage in public education, and contradict the museum’s own mission. Your actions are a practice of censorship. Two of the core values of the museum are civil society and empathy. The bonds of civil society cannot be forged when an institution selectively excludes groups, and empathy cannot emerge when perspectives are silenced. The museum’s integrity is shattered when a closed private network wields control over a public institution.
As a history museum, the expectation placed upon your institution is the elevation of historical perspectives that would otherwise go unheard. Comparative histories, like those of the proposed panel, shed light on historical parallels, which in turn serve to deepen our understanding of global economic, political, and cultural structures. People whose opportunities and choices are tightly constrained by such structures are rarely heard.
The museum’s demand that Palestine be removed from the panel including Ferguson and Ayotzinapa and its subsequent proposal of a panel composed solely of Palestine and Israel is problematic in many ways. Palestinian perspectives should not be restricted to being contextualized by supporters of oppression and occupation.  

We demand that the museum institute mechanisms for public accountability and transparent decision-making. As well, we demand that the museum apologize to the organizers of “Ferguson to Ayotzinapa to Palestine: Solidarity and Collaborative Action.”


Concerned Historians

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