Ball in the sky. photo by Stefano Corso

by • 17 Apr, 2013 • PeopleComments (18)10224

Inspirational female (future) leaders in museum and culture

Update 1 May 2013: Added new names and removed numbering (this is not a ranking!)
Update 19 April 2013: Added 8 names from email & comments. Many more to come once I’ve gone through the tweets. I’ve received many comments and suggestions about other demographics which are all great people as well (many of whom I know personally). For now I’ll stick to this list which is enough work already, but feel free to email me about suggestions and recommendations if you’re looking for somebody to do a project or speak at a conference, etc!

Some tweets spark more than retweets and replies and some questions deserve more than 140-character answers. Over email a leader in a cultural institution asked me if I knew inspirational, forward-thinking young women working in or with museums and culture, a question I forwarded to Twitter. The response was overwhelming and inspiring.

After frantically clicking through 100+ replies and e-meeting some of the most inspirational people I’ve met in years, I’ve decided to attempt to list some really great people and the work they’re doing. There is no order, no intention to be conclusive and definitely no good reason why you are not yet on the list, so please please please add your favourites (or yourself) to the comments.

Apart from being the response to the original question, maybe this list can serve to conference organisers around the world, organisations seeking extra hands or locations seeking projects as a source of inspiration. I’ve tried to give credits where possible for future reference.

List of inspirational young women innovating museums & culture (curated by you):

I’ll update the list as more recommendations come in (via the comments, Twitter or elsewhere). Please feel free to give feedback and add missing information or maybe even attempt to categorise/organise the list. And a big sorry if I missed you.

If you sent in a suggestion and I didn’t post it, it’s because I missed it. Please send your suggestion again!

Header photo by Stefano Corso on Flickr.

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  • From my perspective, Shelley Bernstein of the Brooklyn Museum (@brooklynmuseum) and Beck Tench of the Museum of Life and Science (@10ch) should definitely be on this list. I would also nominate my colleague here in Santa Cruz, Stacey Marie Garcia, who is an incredible leader in participatory and social bridging-based programming.

  • Thanks Nina! And you yourself, of course, as maybe the no1 example (together with Shelley and some of the other people that have been and are an inspiration for many, myself included).

  • Briana Pobiner

    I think my creative, hardworking, inspirational colleague Rebecca Bray – the manager of Interaction Design and Strategy at NMNH – should definitely be on this list (which I am humbled to be on, by the way!).

  • Nina Simon deserves a position on the list for her work and publication. The Participatory Museum is a “must read” book and Nina’s interpretation has provided thought leadership for the sector.

  • We’re a collective of young Irish womenn (@KateLCunningham,
    @acertainsmile, @jeannedesutun, @HollyFur & @UrsulaNiChoill)
    curating an online museum – the Women’s Museum of Ireland (@WMusIrl
    & /WomensMuseumofIreland), our ‘permanent’ space is online at – we plan to hold talks and popup
    exhibitions in the physical realm, we already have one behind us (March –
    Women in Higher Education) and are planning another for June (Irish
    Women in Sport)

  • Hi Barbara, thanks so much, I’ll add her (and many others) as soon as I’m back from the Balkans!

  • Hi Zoë, this is so interesting. Thanks for sharing! I’m sure many readers will appreciate the idea and the ‘permanent’ online space. Thanks!

  • Hi Briana, thanks, I’ll add her as soon as possible.

  • @gretchjenn

    Hi, Jasper I would add Dana Allen-Griel at the National Gallery of Art @danamuses and Sarah Banks @SBanks20 at the National Museum of Natural History.

  • Great thread, Jasper. Very inspiring. I would add: Stephanie Pau, @17reasons, now working at MoMA in both gallery interpretation and digital learning; Shelley Mannion, @smannion, who has transformed family programs at the British Museum through empowering kids and families to use digital tools to connect with art; Rosanna Flouty, who did the same thing with teens at the Guggenheim and ICA Boston and now runs education at Art21; Willa Koerner, @willak, the genie behind SFMOMA’s Twitter, Tumblr, and FB presences; and finally Erica Gangsei, @egangsei, who’s been cooking up collaborative games analog and digital in the art space in her spare moments when she’s not running my team!

  • Thanks!

  • Thanks Peter!

  • I would add Effie Kapsalis (@digitaleffie), Head of Web and New Media at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, for her pioneering work at the Smithsonian in cross-museum collaboration, the Flickr Commons, online exhibits, tagging collections, community cultivation, and digital know-how.

  • Dr Lynda Kelly the manager of online, editing and audience Research at the Australian Museum, Director of Museum3 and Audience Research Blogger,

  • Tal

    Beautiful!! really!

    boston museum of science

  • Hannah Kemp-Welch

    Now we have this list – shall we start an online project together ladies?

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