Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, & Inclusion

Our commitment to our community

Creative Discovery Museum is committed to creating a welcoming environment where all children and families can explore, innovate, create, and play. We value the diversity, inclusivity, well-being, and education of our visitors, staff, and volunteers. We respect all backgrounds, beliefs, and diversity as it relates to age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economics, and family structure.

key definitions

Equity is fair access to resources that advance social justice by allowing for full participation in society and self-determination in meeting fundamental needs. This requires addressing structural and historical barriers and systems of oppression.

Diversity is the ways in which human beings are similar and different, including but not limited to identities, social positions, lived experiences, values, and beliefs.

Inclusion is culture that creates an environment of involvement, respect, and connection in which the richness of diverse ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are valued.

Accessibility is ensuring equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience.

*Source: Cultural Competence Learning Institute

CDM's Values

The Museum practices these values to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

+ belonging

CDM is a place where all are accepted and belong. We are here for everybody. And we mean everybody.

+ Exceptional Service

We go above and beyond to create memorable experiences for children and families through service that exceeds expectations. Exceptional service begins with staff and volunteers serving each other.

+ potential

Learning and growth take place when a person's potential is realized, celebrated, and nurtured. We provide the sparks that help people discover their potential.

+ Relationships

Our work is done through interacting with children and families, collaborating and partnering with the community, and developing camaraderie with staff. Meaningful moments lead to meaningful relationships.

+ Respect

We expect staff, guests, and volunteers to respect our values, our environment, our exhibits, and more importantly, to treat each other with kindness. Through respect, we create a safe space for all.

Taking Action

Land Acknowledgment
Creative Discovery Museum acknowledges that it inhabits Indigenous lands. We seek to acknowledge and honor the Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi), Muscogee Creek, and Shawnee people who inhabited and nurtured the land where we are now located. We aim to show respect to these native groups through ongoing learning and development in our cultural literacy as a museum. Our values include respect and relationships, and we strive to show respect toward and build relationships with all native people.

Cultural Competency Advisory Group
The goal of the Cultural Competency Advisory Group (CCAG) is to foster understanding, support practices, and inform policies/programs that will ensure diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) in all aspects of CDM life. CCAG includes both full and part time staff from every department in the Museum.

Staff Training
CDM is committed to providing professional development and full-staff training to create awareness and understanding around diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, particularly as it relates to our staff and the Chattanooga community.

Community Partners

CDM collaborates with nearly 30 partner organizations (local arts, social service, and educational institutions). Some of these partnerships include:

  • City of Chattanooga / Chattanooga Public Library / Center forCreative Arts: Funded through City of Chattanooga, CDM’s brand newinitiative called CityArts, is an after-school program serving middle and highschool students, pairing local professional artists with local students, andintroducing participants to a variety of art mediums and arts careers.Community arts workshops will be offered by the artist/student team for free atCDM and Chattanooga Public Library.
  • Family Forward: CDM serves on the Family Forward advisory board and developed a funded internship for a Family Forward client offering 500 paid hours to build resume and workforce skills.
  • UTC's Psychology Department and Chattanooga's Park and Therapeutic Recreation Department: CDM provides inclusive camps and after-school programs for children with special needs. CDM staff teach a preparatory course for these counselors, many of whom also participate in the Museum’s Club Discovery after-school program.
  • UTC Occupational Therapy Department: CDM provides an internship for an OT doctoral candidate. Past interns developed social stories and provided training for staff to ensure that CDM is a welcoming environment for children with sensory issues. 
  • City of Chattanooga Office of Early Learning: CDM provides professional development for up to 10 Head Start/Early Head Start teachers in a yearly cohort program that explores in-depth STEAM content for early childhood. Early Matters: CDM is a member of the Early Matters Coalition which is dedicated to advocacy for early childhood issues that improve accessibility to high quality education.
  • Hamilton County Schools: CDM provides curriculum support, outreach lessons, learning expeditions and free Museum admission for students and their parents.
  • Polk and Overton 4-H Extension Agents: CDMpartners with rural 4-H agents to develop activities to encourage participatingyouth in 4-H programs to visit the Museum.

Accessible Programs & Camps

Club Discovery

Club Discovery is an inclusive after-school program for friends with a diagnosis and their typically developing peers to enjoy the Museum.

Sensory Night

A free, low-sensory event on the first Thursday of every month for children and families with sensory sensitivities. Registration required.