SAN DIEGO – After more than 100 years, the Museum of Man announced Sunday it is changing its name to the Museum of Us.
Museum officials said the move is meant to help the museum be more inclusive.
The process began several years ago and came to a head after the coronavirus pandemic forced the museum to close in mid-March.
“We kept looking at how can we emerge out of all of this as a better version of ourselves,” CEO Micah Parzen said. “It’s really important to us that our name is a reflection of our values as an institution and it reflects who we are and what we stand for and that is being a place that is welcoming to everybody, that sends an invitation to everybody that you belong here.”
Museum leaders said the Museum of Us, which specializes in cultural anthropology and has been operational for more than a century, now will offer visitors exhibits which “delve into universal themes that cut across time and cultures.”
Parzen said there have been visitors in the past who noted they didn’t identify with the museum’s former name. In 2017, museum officials set out to find a new name. After many meetings, surveys and input from stakeholders, the Museum of Us emerged as the clear choice.
When COVID-19 shut the museum down, they saw an opportunity to introduce the name to the world, Parzen said.
“We felt that there was sort of a moment where people were just open to change,” he said. “Things were changing around them so radically anyway that we saw sort of this window open and we said you know now is the time to jump through it. It could take us years to sort of really figure this out.”
Parzen adds, “It’s pretty hard to change the name and brand of a 105-year-old institution that is so beloved and iconic in our community and we felt like all the stars just aligned.”
In a statement, museum Trustee Nora Taylor Jaffe said changing the name “corrects the exclusion of all who do not identify with the word Man and welcomes folks to a place that’s about ‘All of Us’ — which also happens to be our new tagline.”
For the next year or so, people will notice a new, transitional logo as the museum goes through the process of a change. The logo includes silhouetted human figures representing the museum’s commitment to inclusiveness.
Due to COVID-19, the Museum of Us remains closed to visitors, but Parzen said they are excited to reopen whenever it becomes safe to do so.