Growing Together and Building Together in AAAM

LaNesha DeBardelabenAs the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) advances through our historic 41st organizational year, we stand upon solid ground nourished by the spirit of numerous legendary leaders such as Dr. Margaret Burroughs, Dr. Charles H. Wright, John Kinard, Icabod Fluellen, Joan Maynard, Rowena Stewart, Bill Billingsley, Margaret Santiago, and many other giants in the black museums movement.  Our field is strong because they lived, led, and loved AAAM.  Under the shade of their light, AAAM thrives.  We remember, reflect, and renew ourselves in their legacies.

Leadership is about service, and we have a robust AAAM board that is expediently at the service of our membership and the field. In 2019, AAAM enthusiastically welcomed six new board members who bring energy, expertise, and commitment to our collective work.

AAAM is at a tremendous point of positive pivot and possibility.  Our membership numbers are at an all-time recent high.  Our 2019 Jackson, Mississippi conference registration exceeded attendance goals.  Thanks to the generous support of numerous donors, our operating budget is strong, which has enabled us to expand our executive leadership with a remarkable Executive Director and a dedicated office support staff.

We are strategically shaping our future as an organization. AAAM is amplifying the voice of the black museums field, enhancing membership value to our members,  elevating AAAM’s visibility, fueling our viability, and accelerating our vitality.   We have a needs assessment report that continues to inform us, we have a strategic plan that continues to guide us, and now we have an Executive Director, Vedet Coleman-Robinson, that inspires and serves our organization with ability and vision.

In times like these, we need AAAM.  In times like these AAAM needs you. AAAM is in the business of educating, resourcing, and inspiring members and member organizations, to preserve and deepen the broader public’s understanding of African American history and culture. We cultivate resources and relationships that empower practitioners. As we move into our next level, we are focused on continued growth and sustainability, and will celebrate organizational achievements along the way.  We look forward to having you join us as we convene in 2020 for our AAAM conference in Miami, Florida.  We will continue to grow together and build together…with you.


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LaNesha DeBardelaben | Board President | Association of African American Museums