Curator, The Brandywine River Museum of Art

Many women won a political victory 100 years ago with the passage of the 19th amendment which declares that the right of citizens to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.". The Brandywine Museum of Art is commemorating its passage and the long struggle leading to it with the exhibit Votes for Women: A Visual History funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Votes for Women shines a spotlight on the movement with over 200 hundred objects including drawings, illustrations as well as historic photographs of marches and rallies and examples of clothing and sashes worn by the suffragists. Significantly, Votes for Women works against what had been a dominant narrative: that the suffrage movement had been mainly white. It recognizes both the critical efforts of women of color and their community networks and the inability of the 19th to guarantee access to the ballot to women of color—primarily but not exclusively in the Jim Crow south. A companion exhibition Witness to History ”continues the story of the ongoing struggles marginalized communities faced when voting following the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment” featuring 55 photographs taken during the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Curator Amanda Burdan talks about creating an inclusive exhibit about suffrage, its challenges and rewards, as well as the determination, political sophistication and publicity savvy of the suffragists.


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Photos courtesy of SLAM

Director, St. Louis Art Museum & President, Association of Art Museum Directors

Brent Benjamin is the director of The St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) and president of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). And so we take a close look at one museum through its closing to its transition as it works to reopen; and, a wider, more general view of the concerns of art museums across the country as they deal with financial short-falls and traverse the various roads to reopening. Benjamin is a great guide to both. He is, of course, deeply immersed in preparing SLAM for reopening—which is a complicated venture—and he has a keen sense of the challenges faced by museums around the country.

And, here’s some bonus audio: In April, AAMD adopted temporary measures designed to give its members greater flexibility in managing finances as they work through the pandemic. They’re a bit complicated, and Benjamin walks us through them to give a greater understanding of just what challenges museums are facing.



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Photo by  Ken Rahaim

Director of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Director Kevin Gover (Pawnee) has been leading the only national museum devoted exclusively to Native peoples since 2007. Established by an act of Congress in 1989, NMAI consists of a museum in New York City, a conservation facility in Maryland, and a stunning five-story, 250,000-square-foot golden-colored building with sweeping curving walls and indigenous landscaping on the National Mall. With Native Americans taking the lead in both its design and organization, the museum is home to more than 800,000 Native artifacts from throughout the Western Hemisphere, an archive of more than 125,000 photographs, and a vibrant collection of contemporary native art. It also offers a range of exhibitions, film and video screenings, school group programs, public programs, and living culture presentations throughout the year. In this podcast episode, Gover talks about the mission of the museum, which is to celebrate the art, culture, and history of Native peoples as vital and sustaining while unraveling the myths that have been engendered about Native peoples through popular culture. Given the museum’s mandate to represent not just the 573 Indian nations in the United States but all the Native peoples in the Western Hemisphere--from the Arctic Circle straight down to South America, Gover has a daunting challenge. He meets it with extraordinary equanimity, insight, and a commitment to collaborative creativity. Here’s a look at a museum like no other through the eyes of the man who guides it.


Wil Haygood

Photo Courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art

Journalist, author, and cultural historian

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, the intellectual, social and artistic burst of African-American culture that erupted in the Harlem neighborhood in New York City. The Columbus Museum of Art is marking the anniversary with a dazzling exhibition I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100. Through paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, contemporary documents, books and posters, the exhibition sheds light on both breadth and depth of the Harlem Renaissance. Wil Haygood-a Columbus native-was guest curator and author of the companion book I, Too, Sing America. In this week’s podcast, Wil and I talk about the Harlem Renaissance: the lives of its artists and the spectacular work they produced, the social history that informed the art movement, and the work of bringing it all together in the exhibit and the book.

Chief Digital Officer of MIA Douglas Hegley and inventors Samantha Porter and Colin McFadden turn the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) into a puzzle room.

More and more museums are moving away from focusing entirely on the content of their collections to focusing on the experience of visiting a museum. Douglas Hegley at MIA had the idea reach out to the tech community and ask them to develop ideas for alternative ways to experience the museum. So MIA teamed up with 3M to create The 3M Art and Technology Award to do just that. Meanwhile founders of the Advanced Imaging Service for Objects and Spaces at the University of Minnesota, Sam Porter and Colin McFadden loved puzzle rooms-- places that create a challenge or mystery that a group of friends solve together by finding and deciphering clues usually within a specified period of time. Sam and Colin combined their expertise to create the app which won the 2018 award: “Riddle Mia This” which transforms MIA into a giant puzzle room. Douglas, Sam and Colin join me to talk about the how and why of it all.


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Photo Credit: Austin Britt

Executive Director of the Delta Blues Museum

Keeping the blues alive and honoring its history


Headshot of Johnnetta Cole

photo credit: Jessica Suworoff, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

Director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art

Dr. Cole’s mission is to inspire a love of art especially in girls from under-represented communities.


Graham Beal headshot

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Graham Beal takes us behind the scenes of the new exhibit Frida Kalho and Diego Rivera in Detroit and shares his support for the Blue Star Museum Program.


Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and John Vick standing side by side facing the camera

Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and John Vick, curators of Represent: 200 Years of African American Art at the PMA

With a new exhibit and catalogue-- both titled REPRESENT, the Philadelphia Museum of Art puts its extensive collection of African American art on view

Organizing curator John Vick and consulting curator/editor Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw tell us about its rich history.


Stephen Jost

Photo courtesy of the Honolulu Museum of Art

Director, Honolulu Museum of Art

Stephan Jost discusses how the Honolulu Museum of Art works to serve its military community. [25:56]