Museums allow their wealthy, white founders to display wealth & status
Those with "black and brown bodies" don't attend museums because doing so "is not part of their culture." Seriously? Perhaps a lack of interest in museums on the part of people-of-color has been the very short-sighted, decades-long choice on the part of those very museums to exclude such potential visitors. American art museums were formed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries only partly to house collections and educate the public. They served just as much as a means for their well-to-do, white founders and donors to display their wealth and social status, a situation that has only recently begun to change. I am a member of the Detroit Institute of Arts, whose very existence, due to the city bankruptcy, was recently threatened. The DIA, even before that, made a conscious outreach to residents of its majority-black home, and has continued to do so since. Its publicized galleries of African-American art, among other attractions, have greatly increased the number of families of color I've seen in the museum in the last couple of years...While I agree that the proportion of visitors of color has, historically, been low compared to white museum-goers, I feel that imbalance has more to do with the priorities of the museums, stated or implied, than any lack of interest on the part of potential dark-skinned patrons.
Michael, Michigan, March 1 2018, NYT comment