As people engage with objects and each other, museums can catalyze profound learning, including personal growth, relationship-building, social change, and transcendence. In my practice, I work with museums and communities to create meaningful, life-enhancing experiences and foster a more just and caring world. My specialty areas include audience research and evaluation, interpretive planning, museum education and public programming, and innovative collaboration.
I study museum experiences through a kaleidoscope! While earning a master’s degree at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, I came to view the museum as a communications environment. After working as a museum educator, I returned for my Ph.D. as a Smithsonian Fellow. On faculty in the Department of Recreation and Park Administration at IUB, I taught interpretation and visitor studies, built a consulting practice, conducted in-depth projects with museums and social service agencies, and later, earned an MSW right here at IUPUI. Through these lenses, my research has addressed visitor meaning-making, museums and human needs, museums as therapeutic agents, and The Social Work of Museums (published by Routledge in 2010). My current interests include museums, health, and well-being, the spiritual potential of museums, and the field-wide need for more just and inclusive museum practices.
My greatest joy as a Museum Studies teacher is to support you on your unique, personal path to success in this remarkable profession. This year, I will be teaching Museum Education, Museum Colloquium, and both semesters of Museum Internship. As the newest member of the faculty, I’ll be doing a lot of listening to and learning from you. I look forward to our work together to imagine and achieve the next age of museums.