MAAM Leadership

The Board of Directors includes an Executive Committee as well as one representative each from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and six Members-at-Large.

STAFF

Averie Shaughnessy-Comfort

Executive Director

Averie Shaughnessy-Comfort began her time with MAAM as a graduate assistant/intern in August 2016. Since then, she has overseen MAAM’s sponsorship efforts, assisted with conference planning, as well as conference implementation and evaluation. As Director, she is responsible for the daily operation of the Association, implementation of programs, fundraising, and conference and event coordination.  Previously, Averie served as Office Manager at the Otsego Land Trust. Her experience also includes interpretation and programming at the Adirondack Experience, development at the Berkshire Museum, and advancement and institutional research for the State University of New York, College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill. Averie holds a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Saint Vincent College and a M.A. in Museum Studies from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta (Cooperstown Graduate Program).

Michelle Paulus-Baumgarten

Membership and Operations Manager

Michelle currently serves as Membership and Operations Manager. With a Masters degree in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, Michelle is passionate about fundraising and nonprofit administration. She has raised over $2 million for nonprofit organizations via Major Gifts, Sponsorship, Special Events, Membership, and Foundation support.

 

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

President – Gretchen Sullivan Sorin

Director, Cooperstown Graduate Program

Gretchen Sorin holds a B.A. in American Studies (Rutgers University), an M.A. in Museum Studies (Cooperstown Graduate Program) and a Ph.D. in American history (University at Albany/SUNY). Dr. Sorin has over 35 years of experience in the museum profession consulting with more than 250 museums. She has served as guest curator for many exhibitions including Through the Eyes of Others: African Americans and Identity in American Art; the nationally acclaimed traveling exhibition, Bridges and Boundaries: African Americans and American Jews for the Jewish Museum (NY), and the award-winning Wilderness Cure: Tuberculosis and the Adirondacks for the Adirondack Museum. She is Director and Distinguished Professor of the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Dr. Sorin writes and lectures frequently on African American history and museum practice.

Vice-President – Michael Cagno

Executive Director, Noyes Museum of Art

From 1999-2006, Michael Cagno served as Executive Director of the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Art (Millville, NJ). Since 2006, Michael has served as Executive Director of The Noyes Museum of Art of Richard Stockton College. Michael serves on the Board of Trustees of Art Pride New Jersey, and previously served on the board of the New Jersey Association of Museums and as Vice President of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance. Michael has a B.A. in Fine Art from Rowan University, and an M.A. in Museum Management and Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration from Seton Hall University. He shares his passion for the arts as adjunct arts professor at Cumberland County College and Stockton College.

Amanda Gillen photo

Secretary -Amanda Dunyak Gillen

Director of Learning & Visitor Experience, The Frick Pittsburgh

Amanda holds a B.A. in History from Allegheny College and an M.A. in Public History from Duquesne University. In addition to overseeing all adult, student and family programs related to the museum’s diverse collection, she is responsible for several initiatives under the Frick’s Strategic Plan, including the development of a Visitor Experience Master Plan. Her museum career began in the curatorial departments at the Senator John Heinz History Center and at the Frick. For several years her work spanned across both curatorial and education departments as she served as curator of Clayton, the historic home of Henry Clay Frick, and simultaneously developed tours and trained interpretive staff. Amanda served on the design team for the Frick’s $15 million dollar expansion (a new Visitor Center, a renovated Car & Carriage Museum, collections storage, and a new Education Center) to support programming for learners of all ages and needs. Amanda serves on the steering committee of the Pittsburgh Museum Educators Roundtable, a professional organization that builds a community of practice for museum educators by providing opportunity for networking, partnering, and shared professional development. She is also an adjunct professor in the Public History graduate program at Duquesne University, where she teaches a course on public programming.

Treasurer– Deborah Schwartz

Consultant

From 2006 until 2020 Ms. Schwartz was President and CEO of Brooklyn Historical Society, a nationally renowned urban history center founded in 1863. During her tenure, Ms. Schwartz guided groundbreaking projects including the award-winning Oral History Program; In Pursuit of Freedom: The Brooklyn Abolitionists (in partnership with Weeksville Heritage Center and Irondale Ensemble Project); Teen Innovators (at the Brooklyn Navy Yard); and Public Perspectives: a series of community curated exhibitions. In 2017, Deborah launched a satellite museum in the Empire Stores building in DUMBO. In 2020, Ms. Schwartz successfully led the effort to merge Brooklyn Historical Society with the Brooklyn Public Library.

From 2002 to 2006 she served as the Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education at the Museum of Modern Art.  In 2002, she curated the critically acclaimed exhibition, Art Inside Out for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that featured work by contemporary artists Elizabeth Murray, William Wegman, and Fred Wilson. From 1983 to 2000 Ms. Schwartz was Vice Director for Education and Program Development at the Brooklyn Museum. She has published articles on public discourse and community building in museums. A recognized leader in the field of museum education, she has taught graduate seminars on museum management for NYU’s Museum Studies Program, and at Columbia University Teacher’s College in the Arts Administration Program; Internationally, Ms. Schwartz has offered workshops on museum leadership in China and the Ukraine.

Ms. Schwartz has consulted on a range of governance, institutional leadership, and education matters for institutions including The Pew Charitable Trust, American Federation of Arts, The Berkshire Museum, Harley Davidson Corporation, The Jewish Museum (New York), , New York State Council on the Arts, and The Parrish Art Museum.

Representatives

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District of Columbia: Dr. Angela Winand

Program Administrator, Professional Curation Program, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Angela Winand is currently the Program Administrator, Professional Curation Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Previously, she was the Director of the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage and Diversity Programming at the Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington where she worked with her colleagues to create engaging educational experiences for visitors of all ages at the Delaware History Museum, and to develop collections focused on preserving black history in Delaware. Dr. Winand currently serves on the board of the Redding House Foundation, which manages the childhood home of Louis Redding, the first African American lawyer in the state and a key figure in a companion case to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.  Dr. Winand created educational programs at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Before starting a new career as a museum professional, she spent 20 years teaching courses in African American history and culture at the college level. She holds a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of the Museum Studies Master’s program at Johns Hopkins University.

Maryland: Ilene Dackman-Alon

Director of Education, Jewish Museum of Maryland

Ilene’s responsibilities include the oversight and development of educational curricula and educational programming in connection with all exhibitions, as well as interpretation of the historic synagogues for museum patrons of all ages. She has been associated with the JMM for the past 12 years where she also served as Program Director. In her prior position she created programming in connection with exhibitions, and developed the calendar of community events. Ilene received an MAJE – Masters in Jewish Education from Baltimore Hebrew University.  She has been involved in education over the past 25 years, as a former early childhood educator and as an administrator.

Her personal interests are family, travel, collecting vintage clothing, and trying to eat healthy.

New York: Sonnet Takahisa

Independent Consultant, Arts and Cultural Strategies

Sonnet Takahisa brings years of experience in museums, arts education and schools. Sonnet focuses on public engagement, community building and education and institutional reform. Most recently she served as Director of Education at the Brooklyn Historical Society, and before that was part of the management team at the Newark Museum where she advocated across all Museum divisions to ensure an ongoing and productive conversation with a diverse and growing audience. At the Boston Children’s Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum she has employed innovative leadership, creative partnerships, and strategic planning to emphasize the importance of remaining relevant and inspiring to one’s communities. From 1993 – 2003 she was founding co-director of the NYC Museum School, a groundbreaking public school that engaged secondary school students by providing direct access to the resources of cultural institutions. In her current consulting practice that focuses on program design and evaluation, she brings creativity and intellectual rigor to inspire and create change, pushing and leading the museum, arts and education professions to provide enriching and innovative opportunities for all audiences. She holds a BA from Harvard and a MA from the University of Washington, School of International Studies.

Delaware: Karen Kegelman

Director of Advancement & Communications, Delaware Historical Society: Wilmington, DE

Karen Kegelman is the Director of Advancement & Communications at the Delaware Historical Society (DHS) in Wilmington, Delaware. Prior to joining DHS in 2014, she worked at Winterthur Museum & Gardens for 14 years in various capacities including fundraising, membership, special events, and publications. Ms. Kegelman represents DHS as an active member of several organizations dedicated building on the momentum of the renaissance of the city of Wilmington including; the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, DowntownVisions, Market Street Merchants Association, INWilmington.com. She holds an B.A. in American Studies from Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

New Jersey: Gregory Stevens, M.A.T.

Faculty Associate of Museum Professions, College of Communication and the Arts, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Greg Stevens the director of the Master of Arts in Museum Professions program and the Institute of Museum Ethics at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. In this capacity, Greg oversees a vibrant program focused on preparing students for a dynamic career in museums. At Seton Hall, Greg teaches a range of museum topics, including museum education, history and theory of museums, managing people and projects, museum technologies, and legal/ethical issues. Previously, from 2007-2017, Greg directed the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Professional Development program, through which he addressed career management, leadership development, and professional skills-building for museum colleagues. Prior to AAM, Greg held positions at the National Museum of the U.S. Army, developing education programs for a planned museum at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia; Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, where Greg co led the team that launched the first Building Museums conference; National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where he was the highest-rated educator for four years; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where he developed Discovery Stations for in-gallery, hands-on interpretation; and Kellogg Performing and Visual Arts Elementary School in San Diego, California, where for ten years he co-directed a lively arts program for a diverse community. Greg co-edited (with Wendy Luke) A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career (2012, The AAM Press), has written numerous articles and book chapters on museum practice, and has taught museum courses and workshops at Johns Hopkins University, The George Washington University, and the University of Washington. Greg is principal of Purple Cow Career and Talent Development, helping emerging and mid-career professionals through job search and career transition coaching. Greg earned his M.A.T. in Museum Education from The George Washington University and his B.A. in Theatre from San Diego State University. Greg has long promoted both the opportunity and obligation of professional engagement, believing in the power each of us has to be the best professional we can be, help strengthen our institutions, foster communities of practice, and bring the field together around critical issues, speaking with one voice about why museums are essential in our society.

Pennsylvania: David Cole

President and CEO, Science History Institute, Philadelphia, PA

David Cole began his tenure as President and CEO of the Science History Institute in Philadelphia in May 2020. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE.  Prior to his tenure at Hagley, Dr. Cole served as Vice President at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA and as Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Harvard Art Museums of Harvard University.  A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he received a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in the history of art and American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Cole has been a Henry Luce Foundation Fellow, a Research Fellow of the Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA) of Harvard University, and has taught at Harvard University, Rice University, and the University of Texas at Austin.  He is a trustee of the Robert Creeley Foundation, the Catalogue for Philanthropy, and the Delaware Council on Economic Education.

At-Large

At-Large: Stephanie A. Johnson-Cunningham

Co-Founder and Creative Director of Museum Hue, Brooklyn, NY

Stephanie A. Johnson-Cunningham has over ten years experience in the arts. She has implemented inquiry-based learning methodologies at the New-York Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, and African American Museum in Philadelphia. Stephanie has served as a museum educator for children and adult audiences as well as more didactic approaches at the tertiary level as a lecturer at the School of Visual Arts, City College of New York, and New Jersey City University. Teaching in varying styles to groups with diverse ages and backgrounds has informed her skills in program development, arts-in-education, and strategic alliance building to use the arts as a catalyst for social change. She has written about her work for Curator: The Museum Journal and the Center for the Future of Museums as well as headlined talks about her endeavors at the American Alliance of Museums and the Museum Next conferences. As Museum Hue’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Stephanie works to propel the visibility of artists and cultural producers of color in the creative economy. She holds a Bachelors degree in Art and Art History from Brooklyn College and a Masters degree in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies from Rutgers University.

At-Large: Sean Blinn

Director of Programming, Heritage Trail Association: Bridgewater, NJ

Sean Blinn is a museum professional focusing on evaluation and developing participatory experiences. He currently serves as Director of Programming for the Heritage Trail Association in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and has also served as a trustee of that organization. He is a former President of the Board of Trustees of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, a historic house museum in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he remains a member of the Board. His involvement in history museums extends to service on the American Association for State and Local History’s Small Museums Committee, and he has recently start blogging for AASLH about how to advocate for museums with municipal and county government.

Outside the museum field, Mr. Blinn has extensive service in municipal and county government. He is a current member of the Bedminster Township (NJ) Historic Preservation Commission. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Somerset County (NJ) Cultural and Heritage Commission, where he serves on the Arts Committee and History Committee. Prior to this, he was Chairman of the Bedminster Township Environmental Commission and Vice Chairman of the Bedminster Township Planning Board.

Before joining the museum field, he worked in the technology sector, including working as Senior Manager of Quality and Process at AT&T, where he wrote and reviewed process documentation, as well as leading software user acceptance testing projects.

He holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College.

At-Large: Jamie Jones

Public Program Manager, College Park Aviation Museum: College Park, MD

Jamie Jones started working as the Public Program Manager at the College Park Aviation Museum in June 2020. Previously, she was the Site Manager at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown State Historic Site in Sedalia, North Carolina. She has over 8 years of experience working in museums in various roles. Jamie is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association of Interpretation sponsored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Southeastern Museums Conference. Her research is focused on minority voices and bringing those to the main stage and believes that museums play a crucial role in doing so. Jamie double majored at Appalachian State University and earned a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in History. She holds her M.A. in History from New Mexico State University, along with a graduate certificate in Museum Studies.

At-Large: Julia Grasso

Museum Technician, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

Since 2015, Julia has played a role in several collections based projects at the National Museum of American History, including various inventories of onsite and offsite collections. She previously worked as an Artifact Cataloger for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, cataloging objects in the permanent collection for the museum’s online collections database. She completed collections management and research internships at the Textile Museum, where she helped prepare the museum’s collection for a large-scale move, and the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in the Invertebrate Zoology and Anthropology departments, where she rehoused and inventoried the coral type specimen collection and processed historical artifacts from the River Basin Surveys. Julia received her Masters in Museum Studies from the George Washington University. Additionally, Julia is a former board member of DC Emerging Museum Professionals and currently serves as a member of the ARCS Education Committee.

At-Large: Jonathan Whitney

Co-Founder, Flux Creative Consulting: Wilmington, DE

JONATHAN WHITNEY is the co-founder of Flux Creative Consulting. He has over twenty years of experience working in the arts as a performer, educator, community program designer, and presenter. He specializes in designing residency programs, professional development workshops, performance series, and cultural events for organizations with their values at the core. Prior to founding Flux, Jonathan was the Manager of Performance Programs and Community Engagement at the Delaware Art museum where he leveraged this skills as a connector to expand the Museum’s community outreach while designing and building a robust performance series. He also has experience in the educational system both as a teacher and as artistic director of the Delaware Institute for Arts in Education where he designed educational programming pre-k through 12 schools across Delaware. He has a bachelor degree in music education with a concentration in percussion from the University of Delaware, and his masters of music in jazz studies from the University of the Arts. As an artist, along with performing, he is an in demand composer/arranger with commissions from the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and Melomanie, and is a 2020 Delaware Division of the Arts Established Artist Fellow in jazz composition. At his core, Jonathan is a connector. He currently resides in Wilmington, DE with his wife and two amazing daughters.

At-Large: Jacqueline Eyl

Director of Youth Education, International Spy Museum: Washington, D.C.

Jacqueline Eyl is the founding Director of Youth Education at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. She holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching from the Museum Education Program at The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Archaeology from Emory University. She has over 30 years’ experience working in museums in both exhibition and interactive development as well as educational program and curriculum development. She has worked at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta Georgia, The Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Building Museum, Discovery Creek Children’s Museum and the National Museum of Dentistry. Most recently, Jackie was a creative lead on the reimagining of the International Spy Museum’s exhibitions and move to a new state of the art building in L’Enfant Plaza, DC. She researched and curated various exhibitions and led the development of the new RFID-enabled Undercover Mission interactives. Jackie also currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Museum Studies program at Johns Hopkins University and teaches and mentors students in The George Washington University Museum Education Program.

PO Box 4 Cooperstown, NY 13326

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