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Museums Today: Championing the Empathetic Museum

September 16, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Explore the concept of the Empathetic Museum in this online discussion led by Melanie Adams, director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, and Gretchen Jennings, who initiated the Empathetic Museum idea. Adams will speak about her efforts at the Missouri History Museum in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, which served as an early inspiration for identifying institutional empathy. Jennings will join her to discuss the characteristics of a museum that prioritizes institutional empathy.

About the Presenters

Dr. Melanie A. Adams was appointed director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum in 2019. From 2005 to 2016, Adams was the managing director of the Missouri Historical Society, where her work focused on addressing the cultural and social concerns of the St. Louis community through hundreds of community programs annually. Dr. Adams holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Missouri St. Louis.

Gretchen Jennings is the former editor in chief of the Journal of Museum Education and Exhibition. Currently Jennings offers classes and workshops for museum studies programs, edits museum publications, and collaborates on projects contributing to social justice in the museum field. She blogs at Museum Commons, is a founder of the Empathetic Museum project, and is a member of the Museums & Race and MASSAction initiatives.

How to Participate

To participate, register online, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining the program on Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts  (6 p.m. EDT). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included. 

About the Museums Today Series

Each month during the academic year, museum leaders lead lively online discussions about critical issues in the field. This series is presented in partnership with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries.


September 16, 2020
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm